Six newcomers in New Zealand squad for 2014/15 Sevens World Series

Nov 20 • General News, International, Sevens Rugby, Sevens World Series, World Rugby • 1712 Views • Comments Off on Six newcomers in New Zealand squad for 2014/15 Sevens World Series

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There are six new faces in the All Blacks Sevens squad contracted for the 2014/15 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series.

The contracted players are:

Jordan Bunce*
Tomasi Cama
Scott Curry
Ambrose Curtis
Sam Dickson
Tony Ensor*
DJ Forbes
Fa’asiu Fuatai*
Gillies Kaka
Tim Mikkelson
Declan O’Donnell
Lote Raikabula
Sherwin Stowers
Murphy Taramai*
Joe Tupe*
Joe Webber
Sam Vaka*

*new player

The squad is anchored by a core of experienced players who have been the mainstay of the All Blacks Sevens through recent seasons including long serving captain DJ Forbes, 2013 IRB Sevens Player of the Year Tim Mikkelson, 2014 IRB Sevens Dream Team member Scott Curry and 2014 IRB Sevens Rookie of the Year Ambrose Curtis.

Coach Gordon Tiejtens will finalise the full contracted squad following the National Sevens in January in Rotorua.

“It’s a competitive squad and it will be quite challenging for me to take the right 12 away for any given tournament. When you have competition, particularly from the younger players, it will put pressure on the experienced players and that’s healthy for sevens.”

The newcomers in the squad include 20 year old Jordan Bunce who follows in his father’s footsteps by pulling on a black jersey. Frank Bunce was a 55 Test veteran for the All Blacks. Jordan had his first taste of international rugby last month when he turned out for a New Zealand development team at the Oceania Sevens in Noosa.

“Jordan played particularly well at the National Sevens in Rotorua this year and he’s pushed on and played well for Manawatu. He’s certainly done enough to secure a contract. He’s exciting, fast, understands the game and, like his Dad, is a very talented defender as well.”

Wellington loose forward Murphy Taramai came to Tietjen’s attention during a recent Sydney sevens tournament and was a member of the Wellington Sevens team that took out the National Sevens title in January.

“I thought he was outstanding in Sydney playing for Wellington in the semi and final. He has all the attributes; strong, very physical, and of course has the pace factor on top of being a good defender so he really impressed me.”

Counties Manukau centre Sam Vaka, Otago fullback Tony Ensor, Bay of Plenty loose forward Joe Tupe and Otago back and 2013 New Zealand Under 20 player Fa’asiu Fuatai are the other newcomers.

Olympic qualification
The All Blacks Sevens are the reigning HSBC Sevens World Series champions having secured their 12th title and fourth in a row last season. The team is currently fifth after the first tournament of the year on the Gold Coast. Tietjens names his 12 players for Dubai and Port Elizabeth on Thursday 27 November.

The top four teams in the 2014/15 World Series automatically qualify for the Rio Olympics.

“It’s always a focus to be in the top four. If we can do as well as we can in every tournament and excel then qualifying will take care of itself,” said Tietjens.

“We need to be consistent like we were in the World Series last season. If we can continue with that consistency and do very well in Dubai and on to South Africa, it will get us off the start we need moving on to the fourth tournament in Wellington in February.”

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