Kiwis lose their Cama
New Zealand will be without the services of star playmaker Tomasi Cama at the fourth leg of the IRB Sevens World Series in Las Vegas.
New Zealand will be without the services of star playmaker Tomasi Cama when they take part in the fourth leg of the IRB Sevens World Series in Las Vegas.
Cama suffered a calf injury in training and will not depart with the team on Sunday - ahead of the Vegas tournament on January 25 and 26.
Other players not considered because of injury were Ben Lam and Declan O'Donnell.
All Black Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens said he was happy with mix in the side.
"This is a strong side with a lot of experience and that's the advantage with this squad now, I have some very experienced players who can teach the younger players," Tietjens said.
Speaking of Cama's absence, the coach said: "He is certainly the best scrumhalf in the world in Sevens and having him injured is a real concern, but he will bounce back and at the same time we are building depth and Gillies Kaka.
"I am sure Kaka will step up to that role. He was the best player at World Cup in Russia and we have very capable Mark Jackman as well who can thrive in that position."
The side features one new player in Akira Ioane who was a star performer for Auckland at the National Sevens over the weekend where the team came second to Wellington. The 18-year-old finished school at Auckland Grammar only last year.
"He is someone we want to grow as a Sevens player. He has all the attributes and the skill set of a fine rugby player and performed very well over the last three days. He's exciting, very fast, very skilful and it will be real challenge for him his first tournament, but I am sure he will thrive on that."
New Zealand have not won in Las Vegas and this will be the fifth year the United States tournament has been held in the gambling mecca. New Zealand has notched three second places in the past four years with the Cup shared twice by South Africa and Samoa.
New Zealand last tasted success in the USA when it won the San Diego Sevens in 2008.
"We have played consistently well there so it's not that we don't play well there, it comes down to those defining moments that decide whether you win or lose. We have to use different tactics because there is not as much width on the field so there is a lot more contact and I have picked a side that is very strong and very big and hopefully they can do the work for us."
The team for Round Five, in Wellington New Zealand, will be confirmed post Las Vegas.
New Zealand: Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes (captain), Bryce Heem, Akira Ioane, Mark Jackman, Gillies Kaka, Tim Mikkelson, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, Joe Webber.