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New Zealand name Canada Cup squad

Dan Buckingham in action against Australia
Dan Buckingham in action against Australia
Photo by Cameron Spencer

New Zealand have announced their squad for the 2014 Canada Cup as coach Peter Martin announced the line-up on Monday.

The Canada Cup will be vital for New Zealand as they attempt to improve their ranking, and with the Canada Cup awarding IWRF rankings points, 2014 can be a good year for the Wheel blacks.

The squad is ten strong, with a number of veterans in the side as New Zealand look to do well in the Canada Cup as part of the build-up to the IWRF World Championships.

New Zealand missed the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics and have seen their IWRF ranking plummet to tenth after a high from coming second in the World Championships in 2006, something that they are looking to come back to.

There are four veterans in the squad with Dan Buckingham, Phil Spring, Tainafi Lefono and Robbie Hewitt all forming a crucial part of the squad.

With missing two Paralympics New Zealand have been largely starved for international competition, but being part of the Tri-Nations against Australia and the USA and the invite to the Canada Cup and the World Championship makes 2014 a vital year for Rio 2016 preparations.

Lefono was specifically singled out by Martin as a player who needed to use the opportunity to push for a permanent spot, with the desire for those mid-point players, who are often seeing the most minutes, to show that they can be versatile and really remain in the frame for the World Cup squad.

Sholto Taylor is the captain of the side with Gavin Auckland, Phil Spring and Gavin Rolton forming part of the leadership team in what could well be a team that uses the Canada Cup having IWRF ranking status to jump up.

The squad consists of four players from Auckland (Buckingham, Barney Konoferenisi, Maia Ama and Lefono) while Cameron Leslie joins from Whangarei, Taylor comes from Christchurch, Robbie Hewitt from Waikato and Adam Wakeford comes from North Shore to round out the team.

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