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Ahki returns to boost All Blacks Sevens

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/04/2016

Pita Ahki's return to the All Blacks Sevens provides a huge boost in experience ahead of this weekend's Hong Kong tournament, coach Sir Gordon Tietjens says.

Ahki returns having last played for New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. He was also part of New Zealand's 2013 World Cup sevens-winning team.

Tietjens says Ahki's inclusion offers a real chance to stake his claim ahead of the Rio Olympics.

"He's very good defensively and a strong attacking player.

"He's in the Hurricanes now, and for them to release him is certainly great moving forward because he's got an opportunity now to really stamp his mark and have a crack at making Rio."

Sonny Bill Williams also returns to the All Blacks Sevens, after recovering from the minor knee injury which kept him out of the Vancouver tournament last month.

Isaac Te Tamaki is back after injury, with the 21-year-old Waikato winger sidelined since the Cape Town Sevens last December.

"Isaac's still a young guy and learning lots about the game, but he's got a real X factor.

"He's probably our quickest player - he's got a great step, he's incredibly strong and can break tackles.

"He's the sort of player who can get the team out of tight games and win tournaments," said Tietjens.

The All Blacks Sevens are currently third in the world series, two points behind leaders Fiji.

In Hong Kong, the team will play pool matches agains Samoa, France and Kenya.

All Blacks Sevens: Pita Ahki, Kurt Baker, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Gillies Kaka, Liam Messam, Tim Mikkelson (captain), Sione Molia, Lewis Ormond, Isaac Te Tamaki, Regan Ware, Sonny Bill Williams.

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