Northland Taniwha William Whetton is excited about his chances to impress at the New Zealand Sevens training camp next week, even though his rise has been quicker than expected.
Whetton was preparing himself for this weekend's final Northland Rugby Sevens Tournament in Kawakawa when he got the call, meaning he had to withdraw and prepare himself for next week's camp. "It's happened a bit quicker than I was looking for it to happen. I was looking at the Northland club competition and then building into Queenstown," Whetton said.
The loose forward said he was delighted about the prospect of showcasing his skills in front of sevens coaching legend Gordon Tietjens and would go in guns blazing.
"It's pretty exciting. To learn off the best is probably the best way to succeed. I don't plan on holding back and hope to learn as much as I can at the same time.
"My fitness isn't quite up to the standard they want, so I'll try stick to what I know."
Even if he did not make the final cut he would look to prove himself to Teitjens at the National Provincial Rugby Sevens in Queenstown in January.
"Even if I don't make it, it's still a great opportunity. I'll just have to step up in Queenstown and hopefully get another crack."
Northland Sevens coach Peter Nock said Whetton's selection meant he would be unavailable to play for Northland in a few build-up tournaments but it was a great opportunity for him.
Nock said Whetton's selection would also add value to the Northland team through the experience and knowledge he picked up at the training camp.
"What they bring back is so valuable. Just to have a player who has been selected for New Zealand is amazing."
Tietjens yesterday named a 22-man training squad to assemble in Mount Maunganui next week to prepare for the next tournaments of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
The squad includes Kurt Baker, who is in the United Kingdom on the Aotearoa Fisheries Maori All Blacks European Tour. He will not be attending the camp, but will be considered for selection.
The squad assembles in Mount Maunganui on Monday, with a travelling team of 12 to be announced on Thursday.
NZ training squad
Kurt Baker, Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, Tony Ensor, Gareth Evans, DJ Forbes, Iopu Iopu, Gillies Kaka, Milford Keresoma, Warwick Lahmert, Ben Lam, Luke Masirewa, Tim Mikkelson, Kylem O'Donnell, Lote Raikabula, David Raikuna, Sherwin Stowers, Tutu Tairea, Belgium Tuatagaloa, William Whetton.