New Zealand sevens star Victor Vito, who has been compared to a young Jonah Lomu, has been withdrawn from the team for the final two rounds of the world series.
RugbyHeaven NZ reports that coach Gordon Tietjens said the decision to withdraw the Wellington loose forward, 20, was made in the interest of his development.
“Victor made a tremendous impact on the sevens team and the series in his debut season but a player’s overall rugby development is also important.
“In Victor’s case, it was thought he should concentrate on 15′s-specific training over the next few months.”
Vito played a starring role in New Zealand recapturing the Hong Kong Sevens title this year for the first time since 2001.
His aerial nimbleness in capturing kick-offs, ability to unload in the tackle or rampage through defences along the wings was a crucial part of New Zealand’s success this season.
The New Zealand squad re-assemble in Mount Maunganui to begin training for the final t wo world sevens series tournaments in London, May 24-25, and Edinburgh on May 31-June 1.
South Africa ended New Zealand’s unbeaten streak in the international sevens rugby series by beating them 15-7 in a tenacious Adelaide final in early April.
New Zealand had gone 47 matches unbeaten since last year, but are still poised to win their eighth overall title in nine years with two tournaments left .
The training camp will be held from May 13-17 and Tietjens said it was aimed at getting the players back into “competition mode”.
“We were disappointed with our results in Adelaide after such a good performance in Hong Kong but we have put ourselves in a good position to win the series and it is important to go into London with a positive attitude.”
The 12-man squad for the final two tournaments will be named after the camp.
New Zealand sevens camp squad: Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Edwin Cocker (Auckland), Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Nigel Hunt (Bay of Plenty), Tafai Ioasa (Hawke’s Bay), Solomon King (Bay of Plenty), Zar Lawrence (Bay of Plenty), Kendrick Lynn (Southland), Ben Nowell (Canterbury), Afeleke Pelenise (Tasman), Lote Raikabula (Manawatu), Rene Ranger (Northland), Chad Tuoro (Counties Manukau), Nafi Tuitavake (North Harbour).Tweet