The exclusion of veteran Dallas Seymour was the major surprise of the sevens team named yesterday for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Only four who won the gold medal at the last Games in Kuala Lumpur return to defend their title: skipper Eric Rush, Auckland's Amasio Valence and the flying Waikato pair of Bruce Reihana and Roger Randle.

Eight of the 12-member team named yesterday were members of the World Cup-winning side in Argentina in January last year. Craig de Goldi, Anthony Tuitavake, Chris Masoe and Reihana did not compete in Mar del Plata.

Coach Gordon Tietjens said dropping Seymour was one of the hardest things he had ever done.

"It was one of my most difficult jobs and the call on Dallas was real tough.

"He was understandably devastated, particularly since his wife, Julie, the Silver Ferns netball captain, will be in Manchester competing.

"Dallas has been a real servant of sevens over the years and was one of the unluckiest ones to miss out."

Seymour's exclusion was one of several hard calls made by Tietjens, with Otago flanker Josh Blackie and North Harbour flyer Hayden Reid also unlucky to miss out.

"It is a pretty good side and the players I've named are worthy of a place," Tietjens said. "There's a lot of hard work ahead, especially with the guys who haven't been involved much this year with sevens."

Auckland utility Mils Muliaina has been included, despite not taking any part in the Mt Maunganui trial.

Tietjens said Muliaina would have recovered from a bruised ankle bone when the squad reassembled at Mt Maunganui on Sunday.

"He's got a huge hunger to go and will train full-on once we get back to the Mount.

"Mils was outstanding for me at the World Cup last year."

Tietjens' search for the right combinations has been exhaustive.

He has spent hours poring over videos of the World Cup, this year's world series and all four trial matches at Mt Maunganui.

"I've looked at what we've achieved in sevens and the way different players have coped with the pressures, particularly in Argentina, when we were performing in front of tens of thousands of people.

"Everyone who made the trials would make an international side somewhere, but I'm satisfied I've got the fittest and best team available to me."

New Zealand have been seeded No 1 for the tournament, which will be played over the last three days of the Games, from August 2-4. New Zealand are in pool A with Scotland, Canada and Niue.

The team head for Manchester on July 19.

Craig de Goldi (Auckland), Mils Muliaina (Auckland), Amasio Valence (Auckland), Craig Newby (North Harbour), Eric Rush (North Harbour, capt), Karl TeNana (North Harbour), Anthony Tuitavake (North Harbour), Chris Masoe (Taranaki), Roger Randle (Waikato), Bruce Reihana (Waikato), Brad Fleming (Wellington), Rodney So'oialo (Wellington). NZPA