Sevens call up for Atiga, Kinikinilau and Soakai
May 18, 2007
Coach Gordon Tietjens has called up Blues utility back Ben Atiga for his New Zealand Sevens rugby debut later this month.
Atiga is one of three Super 14 players with Roy Kinikinilau (Chiefs) and Alando Soakai (Highlanders) included in the squad of 12 for the last two International Rugby Board Sevens tournaments in London (26-27 May) and Edinburgh (2-3 June).
Kinikinilau and Soakai last played for the New Zealand Sevens team in the England tournament in June last year while Soakai was also a member of the team who won the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Auckland's DJ Forbes will once again captain the side in the absence of the injured Tafai Ioasa.
Tietjens said the Super 14 players had adapted quickly to the Sevens game.
"Roy and Alando have been part of our team before and Ben has played rugby at a high level too.
"They are all good rugby players who fitted in well this week after months of fifteens rugby," Tietjens said.
New Zealand are currently third in the IRB Sevens standings on 90 points behind tournament leaders Fiji (104 points) and Samoa (94 points).
"It is clear that we have to win both tournaments to claim another world title and we have prepared as well as we can to give ourselves the best opportunity to challenge for the crown," Tietjens said.
Two of the contracted national sevens squad players who attended the training camp in Mount Maunganui this week, Bay of Plenty's Jason Hona and Solomon King, were not considered because of injury.
Team: Ben Atiga (Auckland), Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Edwin Cocker (Auckland), DJ Forbes (Auckland, captain), Nigel Hunt (Wellington), Roy Kinikinilau (Waikato), Zar Lawrence (North Harbour), Afeleke Pelenise (Tasman), Lote Raikabula (Hawke's Bay), Alando Soakai (Otago), Adam Thomson (Otago), Steven Yates (Canterbury)