Sevens: Crusaders' Whitelock to debut

Adam Whitelock was the surprise addition to the sevens squad for tournaments in Glasgow and London. Photo / Getty
Adam Whitelock was the surprise addition to the sevens squad for tournaments in Glasgow and London. Photo / Getty

Crusaders utility back Adam Whitelock is the surprise addition to the New Zealand Sevens squad for the World Series tournaments in Glasgow and London next month.

"Adam was quite simply outstanding during the trial games this week,'' coach Gordon Tietjens said. "He comes with the reputation of being the fittest Crusader and fitness and conditioning are so important at this level.

"His fitness probably won him his spot. He was just so relentless. He is a very capable player and this gives us more depth as well as being a great opportunity for Adam to pursue a spot in the Commonwealth Games team.''

Two players from the Hong Kong Sevens team, Marty McKenzie and George Tilsley missed selection, as did veteran playmakers Tomasi Cama and Lote Raikabula.

"Both are tough calls because they have been such great players. That doesn't rule them out. They tick all the boxes. But this year I am prepared to try a couple of things.

We are trying to grow the depth we have and if you have got that depth, you have a lot of strength.''

Captain DJ Forbes will become the most capped New Zealand player when he takes the field in Scotstoun Stadium on May 3, earning his 68th cap. He edges out Amasio Valence who retired on 67 caps and Lote Raikabula also on 67.

Forbes made his debut in 2006, and has been a regular member of the team, having also played in two World Cups and one Commonwealth Games.

The All Blacks Sevens currently lead the IRB Sevens World Series by seven points from South Africa and face South Africa and Samoa in pool play in Glasgow.

Squad for World Series in Glasgow (May 3, 4 and London (May 10, 11):

Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes (c), Bryce Heem, Akira Ioane, Gillies Kaka, Ben Lam, Tim Mikkelson, Sherwin Stowers, Joe Webber, Adam Whitelock.

- APNZ

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