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Friday 14 January 2011 | Published in Regional


Avatiu rugby stalwart Clive Nicholas and Ngatangiia speedster Sailosi Niagi will make their debut on the IRB rugby sevens circuit next month in Wellington as members of the 12-man national rugby sevens squad named yesterday.

The squad also includes fellow local players and experienced sevens circuit players Duane Gukisuva of the Avatiu club and Turori Matutu of the Tupapa club.

The remaining players named in the national squad are (forwards) Ashley Drake (Horowhenua), Jason Tou (Auckland), Rangi Vallance (Hawks Bay), Richard Connal (Auckland) and in the backs are Adam Vardey (Wellington), James Blackwell (Auckland), Koiatu Koiatu (Perth) and Nathan Robinson (Perth).

In the event of injury – standby players are Ben Enoka (Canterbury), Kairan Mahia (Tupapa), Shane Tumahai Fox (Auckland), Tai Joseph (Tupapa) and Te Pou Taana of Avatiu.

The management team will be lead by head coach Ramsey Tomokino, new manager Brent Matchett from Ponsonby, physio LeeVan Santos and trainer Keith Roberts.

More than 30 players were available and trained to be part of the national squad and the Cook Islands Rugby Union would like to thank all who have been involved in the process.

The high number of fit and interested Cook Islands players certainly made the selection process difficult for selectors.

The IRB Wellington Sevens tournament will be played on February 4 and 5.