Planet Rugby

Tietjens hands contracts to 17

06th November 2013 05:22

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Marty McKenzie Southland ITM Cup 2012

Contracted: Marty McKenzie

New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has announced 17 players who will be contracted for the new season, as preparations for the Olympic Games step up a gear.

Tietjens said he was very pleased with the calibre of players who have committed to the All Blacks.

"This is a very strong squad with a core group of players who have performed consistently well for the team, particularly in the past season, together with some exciting young talent who will help build depth as we move towards the Olympics in 2016," he said.

"The really good news is that we now have eight specialist sevens players. This is all part of our plan to build a group of players who can devote themselves to sevens and so play their part in helping us win gold at Rio in 2016."

The newcomers are former New Zealand U20 player and Southland back Marty McKenzie and Wellington speedster Ambrose Curtis who made his debut at the Gold Coast Sevens. Young Waikato players Declan O'Donnell and Joe Webber also return to the squad having last played in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Four additional players will be contracted by early next year as part of the All Blacks Sevens Wider Training Group.

New Zealand Sevens squad: Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Scott Curry (tba), Ambrose Curtis (Wellington), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Bryce Heem (Tasman), Ben Lam (Auckland), Mark Jackman (Canterbury), Gillies Kaka (Hawke's Bay), Marty McKenzie (Southland), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Waisake Naholo (Taranaki), Declan O'Donnell (Waikato), David Raikuna (North Harbour), Lote Raikabula (Wellington), Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Joe Webber (Waikato).