2 May 2016

NZ Olympic sevens trialists named

11:05 am on 2 May 2016

The New Zealand Sevens Olympic trial squad has been confirmed with 16 players to fight for spots in Rio at the final two legs of the World Series in Paris and London

Augustine Pulu makes a break for New Zealand on day one in Sydney.

Augustine Pulu makes a break for New Zealand on day one in Sydney. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The squad begin their training camp in Mt Maunganui today before all 16 players fly to Europe on Saturday as part of the preparations for August's Rio Olympic Games.

The squad includes injured captain Scott Curry, who will train with the squad but won't play in the tournaments.

The Chiefs Super Rugby and two-test All Black halfback Augustine Pulu returns to the team for the first time since breaking his arm at the Sydney tournament in February.

Former All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam are both in the squad.

In mid-June, all 16 players will take part in trials for the New Zealand Olympic Sevens team, which will be named by the New Zealand Olympic Committee in early July.

Coach Gordon Tietjens said Sam Dickson and Joe Webber, who missed the squad through injury, were still in the frame for selection depending on their recovery.

The door also remained opened for others in the event of injuries to squad members.

"We're taking 16 to Europe so we can share the workload and give all players the opportunity to make the final team so to that end we'll be using a different 12 for Paris and London.

"It's a very experienced group coupled with an exciting core of young players who are tasting Sevens for the first time this season so it's great we can take a larger group then normal to these two tournaments as we build towards Rio."

New Zealand has been drawn in Pool A in Paris alongside Singapore Sevens winners Kenya, Portugal and Russia.

The team is currently third in the World Series standings behind South Africa and series leader, Fiji.

The squad

Pita Ahki (North Harbour)

Kurt Baker (Taranaki)

Dylan Collier (Waikato)

Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty)

DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)

Akira Ioane (Auckland)

Rieko Ioane (Auckland)

Gillies Kaka (Hawke's Bay)

Liam Messam (Waikato)

Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)

Sione Molia (Counties Manukau)

Lewis Ormond (Taranaki)

Augustine Pulu (Counties Manukau)

Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty)

Regan Ware (Waikato)

Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau)

Not considered because of injury: Sam Dickson; Ben Lam; Joe Webber.