De Goldi to lead New Zealand
January 29, 2002

New Zealand has named Craig De Goldi captain of its World Sevens team for the Brisbane tournament this weekend.

De Goldi replaces long-time skipper and All Blacks legend Eric Rush, who has been forced out of the event by a shoulder injury, but should return in time for the Wellington leg the following weekend.

Also out of this weekend's tournament are Amasio Valence (hamstring strain) and Orene Ai'i (Crusaders Super 12 squad commitments).

There have been four changes made to the squad that won the Chile leg and made the semis in Argentina, with Auckland student Anthony Koonwaiyou the most notable of the inclusions.

Koonwaiyou has returned home from a New Zealand secondary schools tour of Europe to bolster Gordon Tietjens' line-up, with his speed to be matched by the return of Auckland flyer Justin Wilson, over stress fractures in his shin.

Also returning to the team after a lengthy absence is North Harbour's Rua Tipoki, who led North Harbour to their third straight title at the national sevens tournament in Palmerston North in November, winning the player of the tournament award.

He last played for the New Zealand sevens side at Dubai in 1999.

New Zealand lead the series after three rounds with 52 points, 12 clear of South Africa with Fiji third on 38.

NZ: Craig De Goldi (Auckland, captain), Jason Tiatia (Canterbury), Justin Wilson (Auckland), Ross Martin (Bay of Plenty), Tafai Ioasa (Hawke's Bay), Jared Going (Northland), Chris Masoe (Taranaki), Allan Bunting (Bay of Plenty), Damian Karauna (Waikato), Rua Tipoki (North Harbour), Anthony Koonwaiyou (Auckland). One player to be added.

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