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Kiwis travel without Tietjens

Thu, 14 Mar 2013 08:55
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Damian is very experienced
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The New Zealand team will travel without legendary coach Gordon Tietjens ahead of the Hong Kong leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.

Tietjens said he would not be travelling with the team when it departs for Hong Kong on Sunday, because of an ear infection which prevents him from flying.

"I need a little more time to come right so at this stage I am planning to arrive in Hong Kong next Thursday," Tietjens said.

Skills Coach Damian Karauna will take over coaching duties and will be assisted by IRB Sevens Player of the Year and All Blacks Sevens veteran Tomasi Cama.

"Damian is very experienced in the game of sevens having played for the All Blacks Sevens over eight seasons.

"He knows the drills and tactics having been with us since late last year so I am sure the team will be well prepared.

"He will also be supported by Junior whose deep knowledge of the game will be a great help to Damian."

Toby Arnold, Kurt Baker, Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Mark Jackman and David Raikuna were not considered because of injury.

Tietjens said selecting the team was particularly difficult given injuries to several key players.

"The injuries have opened the door to some new players and that is a great opportunity for them and certainly helps us build greater depth for the side which is good for the long term.

"We want to do well in Hong Kong and Tokyo to cement our place at the top of the World Series table heading into the final legs in Glasgow and London, but as recent tournaments have shown tough competition is coming from all the teams we meet so we need to be on our game, every game."

Tietjens has been preparing the team all week in Mount Maunganui and he will continue to liaise with team management before heading to Hong Kong.

New Zealand: Sam Dickson, Matt Faddes, DJ Forbes (captain), Gillies Kaka, Rocky Khan, Ben Lam, Luke Masirewa, Tim Mikkelson, Lote Raikabula, Trinity Spooner-Neera, Sherwin Stowers, Belgium Tuatagaloa.

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