James Mortimer 16.Nov.2011
The North and South Island hold respective championships before the nationals, and Tasman is gearing up for a tilt at the crown, being the reigning South Island champions – although they only managed 14th place at the Queenstown event earlier this year.
Held in Timaru next month, the South Island championships have long been the little brother of the competition, with most of the Sevens’ heavyweights coming from the established Northern powerbases.
The Nelson Mail reported that local club Nelson had won their local tournament, and Tasman coach Gary Stevens then named a 26-man extended squad to prepare for the major competitions.
The North and South Island tournaments and the Nationals in Queenstown have an important place in the Sevens calendar for New Zealand, with national coach Gordon Tietjens often picking players from the National Tournament to represent their country.
American World Cup representative Junior Sifa has been named in the squad, while four players in Kim Bateman, Kieran Fonotia, George Millar and Joe Stewart are injured but have been included in the squad.
Tasman’s best finish at the nationals was winning the Shield in 2008.
Auckland are the current champions, and North Island teams have contested every final 2005.
TASMAN SEVENS SQUAD
Liam Squire, Brenton Connell, Shane Grieve, Tevita Koloamatangi, Willis Scott, Trael Joass, Shane Christie, Jack Umaga, Junior Sifa, Shawn Begg, Eliot Smith, Seta Sauira, Mike Wells, Phil Gibson, James Lowe, Sione Holani, James Marshall, Mitchell Scott, Kim Bateman, George Millar, Kieran Fonotia, Joe Stewart. Academy players: Steven Soper, Mitchell Drummond, Pita Siaki, Kareama Barrett.