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Youngster Vilimoni Koroi was named in the national sevens squad to play in next weekend’s world series tournament in Wellington.
Koroi has signed a contract with Otago for the coming season and is expected to play for the union’s Mitre 10 Cup side.
The 18-year-old outside back finished his studies at Feilding High School last year and was a member of the New Zealand Schools side last year.
Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley said Koroi was an exceptionally talented footballer and plenty of unions were after him.
The Otago union had put an attractive package in front of the Fijian which included tertiary study and he had decided to head south.
He did not play for the Otago side at last weekend’s national tournament as it was felt he had enough on his plate. He was a stand-out at last month’s Condor schools sevens tournament.He had attended a national sevens training camp earlier this month where he made a big impression with selectors.
Koroi is one of four promising young players who are taking part in this year’s Highlanders apprentice programme. He is joined in the programme by his former school team-mate Mosese Dawai, midfielder Thomas Umaga-Jensen and hooker Flynn Thomas.
There are four new caps in the national team yesterday, including Koroi, while experienced players DJ Forbes, Tim Mikkelson and Sherwin Stowers are also included in the 14-strong squad.The entire 20 strong contracted New Zealand squad for the sevens circuit is expected to be named next week.
For Wellington sevens
Scott Curry (captain), Dylan Collier, DJ Forbes, Iopu Iopu-Aso, Trael Joass, Rocky Khan, Andrew Knewstubb, Vilimoni Koroi, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Tone Ng Shiu, Sherwin Stowers, Isaac Te Tamaki, Regan Ware.