Kaka back as All Blacks Sevens set for Dubai

Nov 24 • General News, International, RWC Player Statistics, Sevens Rugby, Sevens World Series, World Rugby • 2801 Views • Comments Off on Kaka back as All Blacks Sevens set for Dubai

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Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has named a strong squad of 12 to take part in the next two tournaments of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens on 29-30 November and the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens in Port Elizabeth on 7-8 December.

The naming of the side follows on from the establishment – for the first time – of full-time central contracts for Sevens in New Zealand and, more recently, another gruelling training camp in Mount Maunganui.

“It’s important that you have those experienced players around you, but the team is really the form players that have performed right throughout the week, they have trained very well, are very very fit,” said Tietjens.

The team includes nine players from the side that won the first round of the series in October on the Gold Coast, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Waisake Naholo and Mark Jackman sitting out this trip.

Gillies Kaka, one of the form players of last season and the ‘Player of the Tournament’ at the World Cup in Russia, returns from injury. Bryce Heem is also back after a strong ITM Cup season and Sherwin Stowers takes his place, having pulled out at the last minute in Australia through injury.

“With Gillies Kaka, he’s a very good player, one of the best in the world, the player of the World Cup so it’s great to have him back from injury. Bryce Heem has come out of a pretty good year with Tasman and again someone who is very big, fast, fit and knows the game and he is going to add a lot of strength to our side,” added Tietjens.

The All Blacks Sevens won in Port Elizabeth last year to stretch their unbeaten run in South Africa to four years, but have not won in Dubai since 2009, finishing runners-up last year to Samoa.

“Dubai support us in a lot of ways with the ex-pats that are there. There are heaps of Kiwis and it’s a great tournament to win,” said Tietjens.

“It’s a very tough pool with Kenya, the French and Portugal, and you have to beat every team to win it, so it’s going to be tough, but I am sure if our guys play to their potential and play with the real hunger we have displayed this week, they can go well.”

The team departs for Dubai on Sunday 24 November.

Courtesy of IRB

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