New Zealand Sevens World Cup squads named
Experienced men's and women's sevens teams have been announced ahead of this month's prestigious World Cup in Moscow.
The men's team haven't won the event since 2001, while the women will be contesting their first cup tournament.
After a three-day training camp in Mount Maunganui this week, men's coach Sir Gordon Tietjens cut his squad from 20 to 12 players.
"It's been an intense few days and competition for places has been strong as I know all players are really keen on taking part in a World Cup," Tietjens said.
"There is something very special about the cup which only comes around once every four years and playing in a country we have yet to visit as a team is also pretty exciting."
Three team members, captain DJ Forbes, Tomasi Cama and Lote Raikabula, took part in the last World Cup in Dubai in 2009.
"On the sevens world series circuit this year we have tested a group of young, exciting players so it's really pleasing to include a number of them in the team," Tietjens said.
"A World Cup is something completely different so they know they are in for a real test.
"The good thing is we have a core of players in DJ, Junior and Lote who know well the pressure-cooker environment of a World Cup so that will certainly help the younger players cope with the challenges in Moscow.
"We really want to do well over there as we haven't won the Cup since 2001. This is also the last World Cup before the Olympics, so Moscow is also going to be very valuable in terms of our planning to ensure we are in the best possible shape for Rio in 2016."
New Zealand Rugby chief Executive Steve Tew believed both teams had a good chance of securing their respective titles.
"We are really proud of both teams who have performed so well this year to take out the men's and women's World Series titles," Tew said.
"It's a huge credit to the players and management group behind each team, particularly New Zealand women's sevens who have really only been together for about a year since the Go4Gold recruitment programme early last year.
"The season has been excellent preparation for the World Cup which is a really important event so we are all hugely excited about seeing both teams in action in what will be a fascinating part of the world to play rugby."
Men's team: Kurt Baker, Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Bryce Heem, Gillies Kaka, Tim Mikkelson, Waisake Naholo, Lote Raikabula, David RaikunaSherwin Stowers.
Women's team: Kelly Brazier, Sarah Goss, Vaine Greig, Honey Hireme, Linda Itunu, Huriana Manuel, Kayla McAlister, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Alexis Tapsell, Selica Winiata, Renee Wickliffe, Portia Woodman.