Kaka boost for Kiwis
Thu, 21 Nov 2013 06:55
It's important that you have experienced players
Gillies Kaka has returned from injury to be included in the New Zealand squad for the next two rounds of the IRB Sevens World Series.
Kaka was one of the form players of last season's title-winning effort, but missed New Zealand's victory on the Gold Coast in the opening leg of the nine-round 2013-14 series.
Also back in the 12-man squad for the Dubai and South Africa tournaments is World Cup-winning team member Bryce Heem, after strong NPC performances for Tasman.
The Dubai competition is on November 29 and 30, with the Port Elizabeth event the weekend after.
Coach Gordon Tietjens said he was pleased to have such an experienced squad for the next two tournaments.
The team includes nine players from the side that won the first tournament of the series in October in Gold Coast.
"It's important that you have those experienced players around you, but the team is really the form players that have performed right throughout the week, they have trained very well, are very very fit," Tietjens said.
"With Gillies Kaka, a very good player, one of the best in the world, the player of the World Cup so it's great to have him back from injury.
"Bryce Heem has come out of a pretty good year with Tasman and again someone who is very big, fast, fit and knows the game and he is going to add a lot of strength to our side."
The All Blacks Sevens won in Port Elizabeth last year, but have not won in Dubai since 2009, having been runner up last year.
"Dubai support us in a lot of ways with the expats that are there," the coach said.
"There are heaps of Kiwis and it's a great tournament to win. It's a very tough pool with Kenya, the French and Portugal, and you have to beat every team to win it, so it's going to be tough, but I am sure if our guys play to their potential and play with the real hunger we have displayed this week, they can go well."
New Zealand: Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes (captain), Bryce Heem, Gillies Kaka, Tim Mikkelson, David Raikuna, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, Joe Webber.
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