Two new caps in New Zealand's team for London leg of world sevens series

Jesse Houston is one of two new caps in the New Zealand sevens team.

Jesse Houston is one of two new caps in the New Zealand sevens team.

Tamati Samuels and Jesse Houston are the new faces in the New Zealand team for the final tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series in London.

Samuels, from Hawke's Bay, and Houston, from Canterbury, come into the side after Rocky Khan (calf), Sione Molia (shoulder) and Jamie Booth (quad) were ruled out because of injuries they suffered in the Paris leg last weekend.

Tasman's Andrew Knewstubb returns from injury for London, which begins on Saturday night (NZT).

Tamati Samuels runs with the ball at the NZ Sevens.

Tamati Samuels runs with the ball at the NZ Sevens.

New Zealand has pool games against Japan, Canada and Fiji.

READ MORE: NZ women's sevens team lacks superstars for Canada leg


Head coach Scott Waldrom said the team was pleased with their third place in Paris, but still disappointed with their loss to South Africa in the semifinals.

"Despite so many players being out injured we came together well in Paris with a relatively inexperienced side and produced some good sevens rugby," he said.

"With a bit more time together this week we are hoping to do even better in the final tournament of the series. Our goal is to play exciting and consistent rugby." 

"Rocky, Sione and Jamie have sustained injuries, so we've had to go beyond our group of contracted players to bring in Jesse Houston and Tamati Samuels for this tournament. It means we have the opportunity to give more players experience and they can prove themselves at international level after strong showings at this year's nationals," he said.

"We have a very competitive pool. Canada won the recent Singapore tournament and will be very confident after beating us in the quarterfinal of that tournament, and playing our old rivals Fiji is always a tough game. But to win tournaments you have to win all your games, and we will be taking it one match at a time and our first focus will be the improving Japanese side coached by Kiwi Damian Karauna."

"This year has been focused on rebuilding, blooding new talent and developing a new game plan. There's been a lot we're proud of and it would be great to end this series on a high." 

NEW ZEALAND: DJ Forbes c, (Counties Manukau), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), Fa'asiu Fuatai (Otago), Jesse Houston (Canterbury), Trael Joass (Tasman), Andrew Knewstubb (Tasman), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman), Tamati Samuels (Hawke's Bay), Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty), Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty). Thirteenth player: Lewis Ormond (Taranaki)

(Times NZT)

Day 1
8.52pm Saturday v Japan
11.58pm Saturday v Canada
3.04am Sunday v Fiji

Day 2
Sunday, Finals Day

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