Touch Blacks Presentation Evening Provides Focus for Mudgee
The build-up towards the Trans Tasman Test Series continues as the Men's, Women's and Mixed Touch Blacks were presented their playing singlets at a ceremony in Sydney on Monday evening. Long-serving Men's Touch Black player Nazea Silbery was also honoured with the presentation of a blazer to mark his 50th Test match for New Zealand.
The ceremony took place after three warm-up match victories against the strong Sydney Rebels club touch sides earlier in the night as the Touch Blacks completed their training schedule in Sydney before traveling to Mudgee for the tournament.
Matty Stockman was named captain of the Mixed team, Mere Nock the Women's, while Mita Graham will be leading the Men's, "I see a whole lot of potential with a good mix of old and new guys." said Graham, "The self-belief in our team is second to none. If we play to our potential we'll walk away with the gold. We've all made sacrifices to be here; play hard, play smart and play for each other and we'll win."
Since coming together on Saturday the contingent has formed a strong bond that will hold them in good stead when they come up against the Aussies commencing with the first Tests on Thursday, Silbery has been involved in more campaigns than any other player on the tour and likes what he sees in the class of 2012, "We are three different teams, however this time the unity of the contingent feels so strong; we're one team together and that's the approach we'll need to take against Australia".
High Performance Manager Peter Walters is also happy with the unity within the group and the buildup so far has been top notch, "The players have been performing well in training and are hugely looking forward to the contest that awaits them".
Fifteen players will make their debut for New Zealand on Thursday. The teams have arrived in Mudgee and will take part in an ANZAZ Day ceremony on Wednesday morning with the Australian teams.