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New Zealand Sevens squad for Hong Kong, Adelaide

allblacks.com     20 Mar 2008

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The team features two new caps in 26-year-old Counties Manukau halfback Chad Tuoro and 19-year-old North Harbour winger Nafi Tuitavake.

The team is currently having a four-day training camp at Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty before departing for Hong Kong on Saturday.

The Hong Kong tournament is on from 28–30 March and the Adelaide event from 5–6 April. Tuoro and Tuitavake have been with the wider New Zealand Sevens squad but Hong Kong and Adelaide will be their first appearances in the IRB Sevens Series.

Tietjens said both players had worked very hard and played their way into the team. “Chad is very experienced at provincial level while Nafi has performed very well in all the camps to date and has earned his spot.”

New Zealand Sevens veteran Tafai Ioasa and Afeleke Pelenise were unavailable for selection due to injury. The side also includes Canterbury’s Steven Yates, who will play in his last Sevens tournament for New Zealand in Adelaide.

Tietjens paid tribute to Yates, who will continue his rugby career in Japan next month. “Steven has given us exceptional service the last couple of years and has made an immense contribution to the team.

We wish him all the best for the next chapter of his life,” Tietjens said. New Zealand heads up the IRB Sevens Series points table on 80 points, followed by South Africa (48 points), Fiji (44 points) and Samoa (38 points).

“The Hong Kong tournament is crucial because the winner earns 30 points, the most on offer by any tournament. Even though we have won the first four tournaments, we cannot afford to be complacent and it is important that we continue to stay focused and continue that momentum,” Tietjens said.

New Zealand Sevens squad for Hong Kong and Adelaide: Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Edwin Cocker (Auckland), DJ Forbes (Auckland, captain), Nigel Hunt (Wellington), Solomon King (Bay of Plenty), Zar Lawrence (North Harbour), Lote Raikabula (Manawatu), Rene Ranger (Northland), Chad Tuoro (Counties Manukau), Nafi Tuitavake (North Harbour), Victor Vito (Wellington) and Steven Yates (Canterbury).