FIJIANS Lote Raikabula and Tomasi Cama have been retained by New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens after he named his 15 players to start preparations for the opening IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Gold Coast, Australia next month.
Raikabula and Cama have been included along with former captain DJ Forbes and lanky Tim Mikkelson as Tietjens starts his preparations next week.
But missing from the training squad is last year's newfind Waisake Naholo who is concentrating on his fifteens career after being contracted by the Auckland Blues for next season's Super Rugby competition.
Tietjens has also named a number of new players into his squad that will start training in Mount Maunganui.
Tietjens told NZ Newswire he is pleased with the blend of skills and experience in his new squad and is looking forward to seeing what the promising youngsters have to offer.
"It was always going to be difficult to pull together a squad at this time of year, so we've had to call up a number of players who have yet to be tested in the sevens format at this level," he said.
"These guys have got plenty to prove and while they might not have a great depth of sevens experience, we know they will step up to the mark."
Tietjens will name his final 12-member team for the Gold Coast tournament on October 13-14 later next week.
NZ 7s squad: Tomasi Cama, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Joe Hill, Iopu Iopu, Mark Jackman, Steve Ketu, Warwick Lahmert, Rhys Llewellyn, Tim Mikkelson, Kylem O'Donnell, Ben Paltridge, Lote Raikabula, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Jamie Verran