NEW Zealand 7s coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has included the core players from his winning Rugby World Cup Sevens team in his extended squad to prepare for the opening HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in the Gold Coast.
In the squad he has named four Fijians in Rocky Khan, Luke Masirewa, Lote Raikabula and veteran Tomasi Cama. Raikabula, Cama, DJ Forbes, Tim Mikkelson and Gillies Kaka were part of the team that lifted the Melrose Cup in Russia in June.
Tietjens told irb.com that the opening of the season was a rebuilding phase.
"The start of any season is a time when we rebuild, but I am really happy to have a core group of players who have served the team well over the last season so we start from a great base," said Tietjens.
"I have also brought into the squad a number of young players who have caught my eye and this will be a good opportunity for them to get a feel for our training environment and work hard for possible selection.
"We are really excited about the season ahead, building up to the Commonwealth Games next July so it will be great to get back on the pitch again and get our preparations firmly underway."
The Gold Coast 7s will be held on October 12-13 at Skilled Park.
Squad: Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Sam Gavigan, Kali Hala, Mark Jackman, Gillies Kaka, Rocky Khan, Luke Masiwera, Tim Mikkelson, Kara Pryor, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, Rob Thompson, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Joe Webber, Gareth Williams-Spiers, (one player to be added)