ENJOYING THE ACCLAIM: Alafoti and the Manu Sevens team acknowledging the crowd at the pre tournament parade in Wellington. [Photo: Mea'ole Kiel]

Radio New Zealand is reporting the New Zealand sevens coach, Gordon Tietjens, sees Samoa as the first hurdle to the home sides defence of their Wellington title.

“We’ve got Samoa in our pool so we can never look too far ahead of ourselves. It is a real challenge and certainly I believe anyway those Pacific Island teams playing in New Zealand, they’re a real threat,” Tietjens told Radio New Zealand International. Tietjens confirmed his 12-man squad for the Wellington leg of the IRB World Series with the team bolstered by the inclusion of All Blacks winger Hosea Gear. He says New Zealand’s large Polynesian community makes the Pacific Island teams that much harder to beat.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have lined the streets of central Wellington for the Sevens Parade of Nations. Led by the Batucuda drummers, teams are riding on individual floats themed from their home countries and accompanied by cheerleaders.

Click to see video of parade at Stuff New Zealand.


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