Southland squads named for national sevens
The Southland men's and women's sevens teams have been named for this weekend's national provincial sevens championships in Rotorua.
Southland had originally included Canterbury's Mike Stewart, who was going to be loan player for the tournament.
The Southland coaching team had identified Stewart as a talented prospect and when he originally wasn't included in the Canterbury team they pounced.
Stewart was on his way south yesterday to join the Southland team but was stopped and advised Canterbury actually did want him to be part of their setup.
Southland had success last year as far as loan players were concerned with Gavin Williams-Spiers being drafted in from Auckland and having a good tournament in Queenstown.
Marty McKenzie looms as a key player for Southland in Rotorua this weekend with him now being a national sevens contracted player.
McKenzie missed the national sevens tournament last year because he was involved in the Blues Super Rugby buildup but was cut from the Blues squad for the 2014 season.
Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens will keep a close eye on McKenzie's sevens progress this weekend and is expected to have some interest in how Tayler Adams performs too.
Bryan Milne will provide plenty of experience while Scott Eade is bracing himself for his third national sevens tournament.
Aucklander Calvary Fonoti was this season drafted south to play for the Stags in the NPC and will also turn out for the Southland sevens team with Rugby Southland hoping he might make the permanent move south.
The hard-running Taina Tamou is a lower profile player that could catch plenty of interest.
Southland will for the first time send a women's team to the nationals with female interest in the shortened format growing.
One of the coaching team's biggest challenges was having to cut the squad down to the 12 that will head to Rotorua.
Southland Women: Courtney O'Callaghan, Ellawyshes Curran, Georgina Lindsay, Hayley Crofts, Jacqui Chamberlain, Kate Day, Kirsty Thwaites, Laura Buckingham, Lisa Dyer, Megan Kane, Nikki Heale, Susanna Sotutu.
Southland Men: Alex Taylor, Josh Vosewale, Tayler Adams, Scott Eade, Bryan Milne, Marty MacKenzie, Taina Tamou, Charlie Tiko, Calvary Fonoti, Keanu Kahukura, Curtis Tarrant, Brenton Howden, Ryan O'Connor, Will Murray.
- The Southland Times