Warwick Lahmert leaps ahead for world series events

Warwick Lahmert's rise in the national sevens ranks has continued with the Spotswood United halfback included in the New Zealand squad for the next two legs of the world series.

Lahmert has been named alongside fellow Taranaki rep Kurt Baker for tournaments in Dubai and South Africa over the next three weeks.

New Zealand's defence of their world crown started with a loss to Fiji in the final of the opening tournament in Australia last month, although veteran coach Gordon Tietjens was not overly concerned.

"We were thrilled to finish runners-up at Gold Coast last month despite a pretty inexperienced team so we are certainly feeling good heading into Dubai," Tietjens said.

"We've got plenty to play for as we didn't make the final last year and Dubai is always a pretty special world series tournament. It's one of my favourites as I have some fond memories from my early days coaching sevens there and we haven't won the tournament for some time.

"Last year we bounced back to win at Port Elizabeth, defeating South Africa in a really exciting final so I am sure the hosts will be looking to avenge that loss and we are equally determined to go back-to-back there.

"We've had a great week training in the Mount [Maunganui] and everyone has worked hard. It's always a tough call narrowing down the squad, but the depth of talent I've seen this week gives me great confidence in the quality of players we will be able to field this season."

As well as Baker, Counties-Manukau wing Sherwin Stowers has also been recalled. Both are proven try scorers at this level, having played for the New Zealand sevens team in the past, but have spent time away through injury and Super Rugby.

"While Kurt is offshore with the Maori All Blacks I know he is fit and ready to go. And Sherwin certainly proved to me this week he has the fitness, strength and speed to justify selection. I'm thrilled to have them back in the fold and I am sure they will make a valuable contribution," Tietjens said.

New Zealand Sevens: Kurt Baker (Taranaki), Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Scott Curry (Manawatu), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (captain, Counties-Manukau), Milford Keresoma (Auckland), Warwick Lahmert (Taranaki), Ben Lam (Auckland), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Lote Raikabula (Wellington), Sherwin Stowers (Counties-Manukau), Belgium Tuatagaloa (Wellington).