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Tasman sevens teams boosted by key players for nationals

Keilamarita Pouri-Lane, pictured in action for Canterbury, is one of four new additions to the Tasman women's sevens team.
GETTY IMAGES

Keilamarita Pouri-Lane, pictured in action for Canterbury, is one of four new additions to the Tasman women's sevens team.

Both the Turf Hotel Tasman men's and women's teams are heading north with quality reinforcements for this weekend's national sevens tournament in Rotorua.

The Tasman women have been significantly boosted by the return of Jess Drummond, who missed November's Southern Regional tournament in Timaru due to her selection in the New Zealand Black Ferns team.

Drummond is one of four changes to the side that finished third in Timaru, with Lyric Siaki, Keilamarita Pouri-Lane and Taylor Curtis also new to the lineup.

Buller's Dan Hytongue is one of three additions to the Tasman men's squad.
GETTY IMAGES

Buller's Dan Hytongue is one of three additions to the Tasman men's squad.

A Samoan international sevens player, Pouri-Lane is the older sister of Motueka High School star Risi. Like Curtis, she is originally from Nelson but has been representing Canterbury in recent seasons and have both opted to play for Tasman at the nationals. 

"I'm really happy with the team, I reckon we've got the best team we've had in years," said Tasman women's coach Shawn Begg.

"I'm quietly confident about our pool. Taranaki went to the Mount [Maunganui] last weekend and had to default their last game through injuries, so hopefully they're a bit battered and bruised.

South Island men's sevens champions Tasman are looking to continue their success on a national stage.
STU PIDDINGTON/FAIRFAX NZ

South Island men's sevens champions Tasman are looking to continue their success on a national stage.

"We've got Canterbury first up and that'll be the game we're targeting. Then we've got Counties Manukau and Taranaki last so the goal is to win two of the three games and put us into that top sector of national sevens women's rugby which would be great for Tasman."

Tasman beat Wairarapa Bush 12-10 in last year's bowl final.

The Tasman men have three changes to the squad that finished unbeaten to win their first ever Southern Regional title in Timaru, with Dan Hytongue, Te Puoho Stephens and Jamie Spowart replacing an injured Sam Coventry, Adam Dunn and Ben Finau.

Stephens was unavailable for the Timaru tournament through injury, while former Nelson Bays representative Hytongue, who played for Buller in last year's Heartland championship, was a member of the New Zealand Heartland squad.

Spowart hails from Kings College in Auckland and was a member of last year's New Zealand Schools Barbarians 15s squad. According to Tasman coach Sam Gibbens, the young Aucklander adds plenty of gas to Tasman's attack.

Tasman open their campaign against Taranaki ahead of clashes with Bay of Plenty and Canterbury.

"I'm pretty confident with the team that we've got," Gibbens said.

"Trael's [captain Trael Joass] been leading by example at training and all the young boys are fitting right in. We've got a good mix of boys and we've got a good culture going at the moment so we're looking for bigger and better things in Rotorua this weekend."

Tasman lost 24-17 to Hawkes Bay in last year's bowl semifinals.

AT A GLANCE

Tasman men: Trael Joass (c), Te Puoho Stephens, Dan Hytongue, Tone Ng Shiu, Fletcher Matthews, Jesse Pitman, Jamie Spowart, Willy Havili, Andrew Knewstubb, Sam Chamberlain, Lote Saulekaleka, Erenimo Tau.

Pool A: Waikato, Hawkes Bay, North Harbour, Southland
Pool B: Northland, Counties Manukau, Manawatu, South Canterbury
Pool C: Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Tasman, Canterbury
Pool D: Wellington, Auckland, Otago, Horowhenua Kapiti

Tasman women: Rebecca Watene, Lyric Siaki, Tamara Silcock, Staci Kohe, Taylor Curtis, Jess Foster (c), Keilamarita Pouri-Lane, Montana Heslop, Risi Pouri-Lane, Jess Drummond, Fern Hoskin, Rosie Buchanan-Brown.

Pool A: Manawatu, Waikato, Otago, North Harbour
Pool B: Wellington, Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Hawkes Bay
Pool C: Counties Manukau, Canterbury, Tasman, Taranaki