All Blacks Sevens bolster Middlesex tournament and James Mortimer     16 Feb 2013    

Milford Keresoma and Iopu Iopu will turn out for the Auckland club as they chase the Middlesex County Wavell Wakefield Trophy, and with it the title of national club champions, at Coronation Park in Burnham.

Keresoma recently returned from Las Vegas, where he helped New Zealand to the final of the USA Sevens, while Iopu played in the opening round on the Gold Coast last October. A third player, Gareth Williams-Spiers, was ruled out with injury.

Suburbs coach Ramsey Tomokino said the pair were a key part of the Suburbs sevens programme which included a 35-28 win over Pakuranga in the Auckland club championships last November.

“We have managed to retain seven of the players from that victory and we will need them to perform at their best in the national championships on Saturday,” said Tomokino.

However, a loss last weekend in their final hit out has the coach, who is also in charge of the Cook Islands national sevens team, taking nothing for granted.

“Although we won Auckland and three other tournaments over the summer our most recent tournament (Glenfield) was a little disappointing so we know we have our work cut out in Christchurch,” he said. “It is fantastic to get the opportunity to compete with the best in New Zealand for this historic trophy and we are delighted to be part of it.”

Sixteen clubs from around New Zealand will assemble at Burnham tomorrow to play for the 61-year old trophy, named after William Wavell Wakefield who captained Harlequins to win the first Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham in 1926.

In 1949, the Middlesex County RFU offered cups for a Rugby Sevens competition in the "Dominions or Colonies" and Middlesex County Wavell Wakefield cups were accepted by New Zealand, Australia and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Suburbs is drawn in Pool D with Sydenham and Covenant Brothers (both Canterbury) and Wanderers of Tasman.

The winner will also take home the Bosnian AK74 Bayonet and receive an invitation to the champion of champions tournament at the Fiji Coral Coast Sevens in November.

Pool play commences at 11:00 while the final is scheduled for 6:20pm. Entry is free.

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