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Tasman teams named for Southern Regional Sevens

James Lash, pictured here in action during Buller's Heartland campaign, adds experience and flair to Tasman's lineup.
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James Lash, pictured here in action during Buller's Heartland campaign, adds experience and flair to Tasman's lineup.

Two new-look Turf Hotel Tasman men's and women's teams head to Timaru on Saturday to contest the Southern Regional Sevens tournament.

The Tasman men are defending their title after scoring a tight 12-5 win over Otago to win last year's Southern Regional crown for the first time. But they'll be doing it without several of last season's stars with key players Trael Joass, Andrew Knewstubb and Tone Ng Shiu now all part of the New Zealand Sevens set up.

In fact only four of last season's winning lineup are returning to Timaru's Alpine Energy Stadium. Jesse Pitman and Sam Chamberlain have been named as co-captains following last year's involvement, with Mo Tau and Fletcher Matthews also backing up from last year.

There's still plenty of talent available though, with James Lash adding genuine experience and attacking firepower and Tasman Makos winger Tomas Aoake another potential game breaker. Isaiah Miller adds power and mobility to the mix.

Five of last season's Tasman women's team are returning south with New Zealand Sevens squad member Jess Drummond also available.

She wasn't involved last season due to her national commitments and with the bulk of the squad also involved in this season's Farah Palmer Cup national provincial championship, there should be a much harder competitive edge to the side.

Drummond will complement the attacking talents of Motueka High School stars Risi Pouri-Lane and Sydnee Wilkins who competed at last weekend's Condor Sevens secondary schools sevens tournament in Auckland.

The annual Southern Regional tournament is used as a qualifier to the January National Sevens for both men's and women's provincial teams with the top five men's teams and top three women's teams gaining entry to the national tournament.

HOW THEY LINE UP

TASMAN MEN: Christian Kelly, Te Puoho Stephens, Glen Ballam, Isaiah Miller, Joe Taylor, Fletcher Matthews, Tomas Aoake, Jayden Woolley, James Lash, Jesse Pitman, Sam Chamberlain, Erenimo Tau.

TASMAN WOMEN: Stephani Mitchell, Michelle Curry, Lyric Siaki, Tamara Silcock, Tess Golding, Grace Kukutai, Morgan Moore, Rosie Buchanan-Brown, Risi Pouri-Lane, Jess Drummond, Sydnee Wilkins, Sophie O'Cain.

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