Sevens:Tietjens mixes things up for new series

New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has gone for a blend of youth and experience as they look to defend their Sevens World Series title. Photo / Getty Images.
New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has gone for a blend of youth and experience as they look to defend their Sevens World Series title. Photo / Getty Images.

New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has gone for a blend of youth and experience as they look to defend their Sevens World Series title.

Tietjens is able to call on a number of old hands like DJ Forbes, Tomasi Cama, Lote Raikabula and Tim Mikkelson in his 12-man squad for the series opener in Gold Coast next weekend, but there are also some fresh faces.

"We've been working hard in the camp this week to come up with the right mix for the Gold Coast and I think we have a great blend of experience and new blood in this team," Tietjens said.

"Make no mistake, this will be a tough tournament for us and we are certainly realistic about our prospects. The first outing of the series is always a time when you feel your way to an extent with new players and new combinations.

"But I know the guys have trained hard this week and even though some in the team are relatively new to sevens, I'm sure they'll play their hearts out as always when they pull on the black jersey next week."

Two players from the last year's squad, Toby Arnold and Scott Curry, weren't considered due to injury.

Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Iopu Iopu (Auckland), Mark Jackman (Canterbury), Warwick Lahmert (Taranaki), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Kylem O'Donnell (Taranaki), Lote Raikabula (Wellington), Belgium Tuatagaloa (Wellington), Gareth Williams-Spiers (Auckland), Jamie Verran (Canterbury).

- APNZ

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