Doug Howlett has been named in the All Black Sevens squad for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Howlett is one of five Super 14 players coach Gordon Tietjens has been allowed to pluck from the ranks of the New Zealand franchises.
Tietjens is clearly in need of a boost for his struggling squad who have made an ordinary start to the defence of their IRB sevens series crown. That he has gone for Howlett from the Blues, though, is somewhat of a surprise as he has never played any international sevens rugby.
Tietjens’ other four selections are less of a surprise, the quartet all having had prior sevens experience. Chiefs winger Sosene Anesi, Crusaders loose forward Tanerau Latimer, Highlanders flanker Josh Blackie and Hurricanes utility back Tamati Ellison join Howlett as the additions to the existing 17-man national training squad.
Sosene Anesi (Waikato), Charles Baxter (Bay of Plenty), Josh Blackie (Otago), Edwin Cocker (Otago), Tamati Ellison (Wellington), DJ Forbes (Auckland), Doug Howlett (Auckland), Craig Hudson (North Harbour), Nigel Hunt (Wellington), Tafai Ioasa (Hawke’s Bay), Cory Jane (Wellington), Tanerau Latimer (Bay of Plenty), Zar Lawrence (North Harbour), James Maher (Counties Manukau), Lachie Munro (Auckland), Alfred Pelenise (Canterbury), Lote Raikabula (Wellington), Hayden Reid (Bay of Plenty), Alando Soakai (Otago), Dwayne Sweeney (Waikato), Onosa’i Tololima-Auva’a (Auckland), Amasio Valence (Auckland).