Sevens: Faddes on standby for national squad

Matt Faddes
Matt Faddes
Otago outside back Matt Faddes is on the sevens payroll.

Faddes (21) has been awarded an interim sevens contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union, and returned earlier this month from a tournament in Fiji.

Faddes is one of four players who have been signed by the union to be on standby for the national sevens squad. Those players will back up the 16 fulltime players contracted to play for the national team in the IRB world series this year.

He is joined by Rocky Khan (Auckland), Trinity Spooner-Neera (Hawkes Bay) and David Raikuna (North Harbour) in the interim squad.

Raikuna and Khan have been picked to play for the national side for this weekend's Wellington sevens.

Faddes said the interim players trained with the national squad before tournaments, and he had spent last weekend in camp.

He had travelled to Fiji for a tournament with an emerging New Zealand squad. The side made it to the semifinals before losing to Fiji, which went on to win the tournament. It was the best placing by a non-Fijian side in the tournament.

Faddes said it was unbelievably hot and conditions were brutal, but it had been an enjoyable experience and his game had benefited.

National coach Gordon Tietjens converted Faddes into a halfback at the tournament, and he was a playmaker for the team.

Faddes said it was different than his usual role, and he did not get as much space, but it was one he enjoyed.

A student at the University of Otago, the Balclutha product said there were big opportunities in sevens in the coming years.

The World Cup was in Moscow later this year, the Commonwealth Games was a year away and getting to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was a big focus for all players.

He was getting paid for his sevens commitments, which was always handy for a student, and had a training programme to follow. He would continue to play for University this season.