6 Jun 2016

Kenny out of Tall Blacks tour

5:39 am on 6 June 2016

The Tall Blacks guard Jarrod Kenny has been forced out of their tour of Asia and Europe as they prepare for their final attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

Tall Black Jarrod Kenny.

Tall Black Jarrod Kenny. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Kenny has withdrawn from the tour due to an ongoing health issue and he's been replaced by Derone Raukawa.

Head coach Paul Henare said it was a blow to lose someone of Kenny's stature in the team, but he was determined that the team would not lose focus.

"I have been in touch with Jarrod for a few weeks now and it was becoming apparent that he would not be in a position to travel with us this week," Henare said.

"The priority right now is for him to get healthy and return to training, he has made the right call and was given as much time as he needed to do so."

"We will miss Jarrod's leadership and his ability to influence and control the pace of a game, but this is an opportunity for a young player in Derone to come in and test himself at another level, he is a great student of the game and has enjoyed a productive season with the Sharks and is hugely excited about this opportunity. We have quality players capable of playing in the one spot, with Tai Webster, Shea Ili and Corey Webster all comfortable in that rotation."

Kenny was hugely disappointed that he was unable to travel but made the call for both his own welfare and that of the team.

"I have had a stomach issue for a few weeks now, while it is yet to be fully diagnosed it is feeling like something I experienced about ten years ago," Kenny said.

"I had thought about coming on tour and 'toughing it out', but that would not be doing myself or the team justice. If you are going to commit to the Tall Blacks, you have to be prepared to give all you have and I know I am just not going to be 100 percent for some time, which would not be fair on my team-mates or the black singlet."

Rob Loe is the only player who will not join the team when they assemble on Tuesday.

The Belgium-based centre will meet up with the Tall Blacks on arrival in Tokyo as they embark on a four-week preparation for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, one that they must win if they are to progress to the Rio Olympic Games.