Above: St Pat's Silverstream's Kienan Higgins gets a pass away with Wellington College's Naitoa Ah Kuoi chasing hard in the Wellington Premiership final in August. NZ Schools Barbarians midfielder Higgins has been named as one of six school players in the Wider Wellington 7s Training squad, while Ah Kuoi was tonight named the CSW Rugby player of the year (see below).
A Wellington Sevens Wider Training Squad has been selected, following the completion of the three-leg American Ambassador’s series at Ngatitoa Domain on Saturday.
The squad is:
James Tuiatua, Matt Peni, Michael Buckley, Saia Paese, Ryan Setefano, Willie Schultz (Marist St Pats), Paddy Hughes, Olly Sapsford, Dale Sabbagh (Wellington), Brandyn Laursen (HOBM), Jake Walmsley, Romu Senilebu, Verani Komaisavai (Johnsonville), Daniel Schrijvers, Hayden Schrijvers, Jack Wright, Owen Karati (Upper Hutt Rams), Malachi Unasa, Sione Ma'u, Malo Tuitama, Reuben Va'a (Oriental-Rongotai), Losi Filipo, Jake Quinn (Petone), Roy Maiava (Paremata-Plimmerton), Levi Harmon, Jimmy Hewitt (Poneke), Randall Bishop, Telea Seumanatafa, PJ Iosefo (Tawa), Esi Komaisavai, Leon Ellison, Fala Tuala, Te Kahui Bishop, Luke Bowden (Northern United), Nash Fiso (Wainuiomata), Tai Neli, Jaylen Tuapola (Scots College), Todd Svenson, Kienan Higgins (St Pats Silverstream), Tom Maiava (Wellington College), Keelan Whitman (St Pats College Town).
Included in the wider squad are Tai Neli, Jaylen Tuapola (Scots College), Todd Svenson, Kienan Higgins (St Pats Silverstream), Tom Maiava (Wellington College) and Keelan Whitman (St Pats College Town).
The six youngsters are part of a squad that will be whittled down over the next month in the build-up to the nationals in Rotorua from January 11 to 15.
Twelve of Wellington's premier clubs are represented in the wider squad including four members of the 2017 American Ambassador's series-winning Upper Hutt Rams, as well as 2017 Wellington Lions players James Tuiatua (Marist St Pats), Malo Tuitama (Oriental-Rongotai), and Levi Harmon (Poneke).
Coach Sam Rasch said the size of the squad was a reflection of the depth of talent that had emerged during the series of club tournaments.
"We have selected a wider squad because there was just too much talent to leave out. We will be conducting tests and monitoring players in the coming weeks before trimming the squad further ahead of the Central Regions qualification tournament on December 9."
Before that Rasch will select squads to play in the Tawa Sevens on November 11 and Counties-Manukau Sevens on November 18.
Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Wellington College) and Lyric Faleafaga (St Mary’s College) won the respective boys and girls awards at the College Sport Wellington end of season awards at Te Rauparaha Arena this evening.
Ah Kuoi was recently one of two Wellington representatives in the New Zealand Secondary Schools side that beat Australia. He played most of the season at lock and No. 8 for Wellington College and is joining Marist St Pat’s in 2018.
At the start of this year, National Condor 7s winner Lyric Falefaga earned a Black Ferns Sevens training contract and went away with the team to Japan in April.
The pair have two things in common – both undergoing surgery and spending periods on the sideline.
Ah Kuoi went under the knife recently to gethis hips operated on, while Lyric has recently been rehabbing her shoulder after surgery.