Two changes in All Blacks Sevens team
for Hong Kong
The All Blacks Sevens team for the seventh leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong (8-10 April) features two changes from the team that won the recent Canada Sevens in Vancouver.
Pita Ahki returns having last played for New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and Isaac Te Tamaki returns from injury.
The team is:
Pita Ahki (North Harbour)
Kurt Baker (Taranaki)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)
Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay)
Liam Messam (Waikato)
Tim Mikkelson (Captain) (Waikato)
Sione Molia (Counties Manukau)
Lewis Ormond (Taranaki)
Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato)
Regan Ware (Waikato)
Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau)
Coach Gordon Tietjens welcomed Pita Ahki back to the team.
“Pita’s a very capable footballer and very experienced in sevens rugby having played at Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013 where we won. He’s very good defensively and a strong attacking player. He’s in the Hurricanes now and for them to release him is certainly great moving forward because he’s got an opportunity now to really stamp his mark and have a crack at making Rio”.
Isaac Te Tamaki returns to the squad having last appeared at the Cape Town Sevens in December last year.
“Isaac’s still a young guy and learning lots about the game, but he’s got a real x factor. He’s probably our quickest player. He’s got a great step, he’s incredibly strong and can break tackles. He’s the sort of player who can get the team out of tight games and win tournaments.”
The team has been drawn in Pool A and will play Samoa, France and Kenya with pool games spread over two days. First up is France on Friday night.
“We have three tough pool games in this tournament,” said Tietjens. “Like every team they’ll all look to get themselves up for Hong Kong and it’ll be no different this time.
“We’ve trained really well this week. We’ve come a day earlier this year and that’s given us more down time to recover and get up for training so it’s an exciting week starting with a tough game first up on Friday night.”
(Hong Kong is four hours behind NZT)
Friday 8 April
1944 (2344); v France
Saturday 9 April
1140 (1540); v Kenya
1540 (1940); v Samoa
Sunday 10 April
Watch Hong Kong Sevens live on SKY Sport Pop-up Channel 055
Day 1, Friday 8 April, from 9.00pm
Day 2, Saturday 9 April, from 2.15pm
Day 3, Sunday 10 April, from 12.30pm
Watch Singapore Sevens live on SKY Sport Pop-up Channel 055
Day 1, Saturday 16 April, from 12.30pm
Day 2, Sunday 17 April, from 1.00pm