The team features seven players from the team that won Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow in July and ten who played in the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
The team is:
Tomasi Cama (Manawatu)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes (Capt) (Counties Manukau)
Mark Jackman (Canterbury)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki)
Lote Raikabula (Wellington)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
Belgium Tuatagaloa (Canterbury)
Joe Webber (Waikato)
*no current union affiliation
The team features the return of young Waikato back Joe Webber who played seven tournaments for the All Blacks Sevens in 2011/12. He was also a member of the 2013 Under 20s team and made his debut for Waikato in 2012.
Exciting Wellington back Ambrose Curtis earns his first cap after trialling for the team last year. The 21 year old has played ITM Cup this year and was a member of the 2012 Under 20s team.
“Ambrose is big, fast and strong and a great prospect for the future,” said Tietjens. “He hasn’t played sevens at this level before, but he certainly has the skill set. He was unlucky not to make my squad last year, he had a shoulder injury, but he has come back strong and has played some great ITM Cup rugby for Wellington.
“Joe Webber as grown has a rugby player and certainly matured. He has some wonderful skills, brilliant step, acceleration, fitness, he has got it all really so the future is in front of him and I am expecting big things from him because he oozes a lot of talent.”
Scott Curry also returns to the side after the disappointment of having to withdraw from the World Cup squad after sustaining an injury just before departure.
New Zealand faces a challenging first day at Gold Coast, with pool games against USA, Tonga and Kenya on 12 October.
“There are no easy games in the pool in any tournament now," said Tietjens. "USA went close to beating us in Moscow and they are going to be tough. Tonga, like any Pacific Island team they can be tough and Kenya, we know who they can beat.
“It’s our first tournament and we are a little underdone as some teams have already been playing in tournaments so that is the challenge for us is to get up and get into it early and we really need to start well.”
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