‘SBW not ready for Sevens yet’ – Tietjens

Date published: December 7 2015

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New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens believes Sonny Bill Williams is not ready to play the shortened version of the game yet.

Despite losing several players to injury at the Dubai Sevens, Tietjens has resisted the temptation to call up the Rugby World Cup winner to his squad for the this weekend's Cape Town Sevens.

Williams, who is a contracted member of the New Zealand Sevens squad, was in Dubai as a spectator at the weekend and was keen to play when his team's injuries were mounting but Tietjens opted not to risk him.

Tietjens responded unequivocally when asked if the cross-code star would be called up earlier than expected.

“No, he’s never played Sevens,” Tietjens told Sport 360.

“I jokingly said to him that he might get to play earlier than we first thought. He said ‘can I do that?’. We’ve got a tournament in South Africa in five days’ time and the bodies have taken a hammering.

“We’ve got a plan for him and we’ll stick to that. He’ll come in really conditioned to play sevens and train with us and then, when it’s time to get him out, we will. 

“That applies to so many others too. Wellington or Sydney they’ll come in because we’ll need them.”

Five players are returning to New Zealana after sustaining injuries in Dubai. They are Scott Curry (dislocated shoulder), Gillies Kaka (ankle), Tim Mikkelson (concussion), Sherwin Stowers (broken arm) and Regan Ware (ankle).

They have been replaced by All Blacks Sevens squad members Antonio Kirikiri and Beaudein Waaka. Waaka has recovered from a knee injury sustained in Dubai last week after passing a fitness test on Sunday. 

They are also joined by Ambrose Curtis (Manawatu) who played for the team last season.

The players fly to Cape Town on Monday.

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