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Defending champions announce rugby squad

10 July 2002

Eric Rush leads a formidable New Zealand rugby sevens team as they set out to retain their Commonwealth title.

Eric Rush

Eric Rush will lead out New Zealand in the rugby sevens

Eric Rush is one of the four players in the squad who won a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. Others are Bruce Reihana, Roger Randle and Amasio Valence.

New Zealand coach, Gordon Tietjens, who had to make the tough decision to drop veteran Dallas Seymour said: "It is a pretty good side and the players I've named are worthy of a place."

"There's a lot of hard work ahead, especially with the guys who haven't been involved much this year with sevens."

Jonah Lomu, who had expressed an interest in defending New Zealand's Commonwealth Games' title will remain with the All Blacks squad despite missing out on a place in the 22 for the test against Australia this weekend.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Barry Maister said of the squad: "I have always been amazed at how Gordon Tietjens discovers a regular flow of new talent for his sevens team. This squad looks incredibly exciting and I am sure they will perform with great credit in Manchester."

Tietjens' who spent hours poring over match videos to help make his selections said: "I've looked at what we've achieved in sevens and the way different players have coped with the pressures, particularly in Argentina when we were performing in front of tens of thousands of people.

"Everyone that trialled would make an international side somewhere... but I'm satisfied I've got the fittest and best team available to me."

Number one seeds New Zealand are in Pool A alongside Canada, Niue and Scotland.

The New Zealand rugby seven's squad is:

Craig de Goldi
Mils Muliaina
Amasio Valence
Craig Newby
Eric Rush - captain
Karl Te Nana
Anthony Tuitavake
Chris Masoe
Roger Randle
Bruce Reihana
Brad Fleming
Rodney So'oialo

Great tickets for rugby sevens are still available online

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