National sevens rep Warwick Lahmert remains upbeat about his chances of being selected for the next leg of the IRB world series, despite missing out on this weekend's tournament in Wellington.
Lahmert was a surprise omission from Gordon Tietjens' squad, given his form during the national tournament in Queenstown and his selection as captain of an emerging players' squad to Fiji earlier this month where they were ousted in the semfinals after beating Australia in the quarterfinals.
"He [Tietjens] said some good things to me and everything was pretty positive," Lahmert said yesterday. "He wanted to go with a bit more height and size in his forward pack for this tournament. He told me he couldn't fault me on anything and he wants me to keep working on my speed."
A halfback in the 15-a-side game, Lahmert converted himself into a hooker for sevens at the behest of Tietjens last year.
Since the switch he has debuted for New Zealand in Australia, been selected for Dubai and helped the national side win in South Africa to take a 14-point lead at the top of the world series standing.
He was also instrumental in Taranaki winning their first national tournament since 1982.
With Lahmert missing out on Wellington, Taranaki has no players from their national triumph in the New Zealand squad. Taranaki's sole representative in Tietjens' side - Kurt Baker - was not allowed to play in Queenstown.
"I know everyone likes to play Wellington but what can I say? There is always next year," Lahmert said. "He's naming a new team for [Las] Vegas, so I'll just wait and see if I get a call on Sunday."
Given the attrition rate of the Wellington tournament, it would be no surprise if Lahmert was boarding a plane to the United States early next week, especially with the Las Vegas tournament starting on February 8.
In the interim, Lahmert will be back working as a roofer until the end of the week.
"The boss is hanging out for me to do some work because the weather has been mean up here."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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