Sevens callup means Paia'aua will miss Turbos buildup

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 13/08/2012

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Only last Thursday, wing Willie Paia'aua was the last of the Manawatu Turbos to be signed up.

Now he is at a three-day training camp with the New Zealand sevens team at Mt Maunganui until Wednesday.

From Manawatu's viewpoint, the timing could have been better, with the team's serious stuff only 10 days away.

Paia'aua was with the Turbos at their three-day camp at Tatum Park in Horowhenua until yesterday and they have their final pre-competition match against Hawke's Bay at Napier on Wednesday.

Manawatu coach Jason O'Halloran is resigned to being without Paia'aua for the game and had been tipped off about the possibility two weeks ago.

Paia'aua played the second half against Wellington last Wednesday and as a late inclusion in the squad could have done with more action.

Now his next outing in anger will be some time during the ITM Cup competition. “It is a little disruptive,” O'Halloran said. “But we can make do with 11 backs. From our point of view we would have liked to have him.”

Where once provincial rugby had precedence over sevens, not now.

O'Halloran said it wasn't his call to stop a player aspiring to a national team.

As a trade-off, NZ sevens coach Gordon Tietjens will release Junior Tomasi Cama early from the camp and he will miss their final training.

Cama has played for the New Zealand team since 2005 so Tietjens knows all he needs to know about the world sevens player of the year.

Cama will fly to Napier in time for Wednesday's match.

Paia'aua has previously played sevens for Horowhenua-Kapiti and had some time with the Manawatu sevens side last season.

Other ITM Cup players in the 20-man squad are Waikato's Tim Mikkelson and Canterbury's Kolio Hifo, Mark Jackman, Rhys Llewellyn and Jamie Verran, and Counties' DJ Forbes.

The first two world sevens tournaments are in October, in Queensland and Argentina.

Players for NZ sevens training camp: Jacob Ale (Waikato), Mark Atkins (Otago), Junior Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Sam Dickson (Cant), DJ Forbes (Counties-Manukau), Willis Halaholo (Auck), Kolio Hifo (Cant), Joe Hill (Wgtn), Mark Jackman (Cant), Warwick Lahmert (Taranaki), Rhys Lewellyn (Cant), Tevita Li (North Harbour), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Kylem O'Donnell (Taranaki), Willie Paia'aua (Manawatu) Lote Raikabula (Wgtn), Belgium Tuatagaloa (Wgtn), Joe Tupe (Auck), Gareth William-Spiers (Auck), Jamie Verran (Cant).

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- Manawatu Standard

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