Saturday's naming of the Northland Sevens wider training squad will have extra meaning for the family of Dargaville teenager Anthony Matich, who died last week in a car accident.
Northland's coach, Peter Nock, said Matich would have been named in his squad announced on Saturday.
"I would have named him in my squad. However, in the events, his brother - and squad member last year - Matt Matich still fronted up with a Sharks team."
In a gesture to his brother, Matt has decided to withdraw from the Auckland Sevens team - which he was named in earlier this month - to honour what would have been his brother's spot. "He [Matich] played outstanding all day and is very keen to stay in Northland now to help out their dad and leave the Auckland squad, that he has been named in, to play for Northland," said Nock.
Northland's team looks strong on paper with William Whetton bolstering the squad after he was named in the New Zealand Sevens training squad on Friday.
Nock spoke highly of Mid Northern's Seviti brothers, Jone and Villi, who were stand-out performers all day, as was Warren Dunn. Northland under-18 player Mosese Fotu of Okaihau College and Marist's Troy Woodman were also singled out as ones to watch.
The squad will go straight into training due to their upcoming qualification tournament, on December 8, for the National Provincial Rugby Sevens Tournament in Queenstown in January. Next weekend Northland will play in an invitational tournament in North Harbour.
"It's a bit of a mental application as to who is going to front up and be keen for a fitness test. There will be guys who won't turn up, and that makes my job easier," Nock said.
Extended Northland Sevens squad: Dan Pryor, Troy Woodman, Tuhulu 'Isileli-Fo'ou (Marist) Mateo Malupo (Old Boys), Matthew Matich (W Sharks), Jone Seveti, Villi Seveti, Warren Dunn, Tane Takulua, William Whetton, Jack Whetton, Mosesse Fotu, Mat Tautagoloa (Mid Northern), Whiria Meltzer (Hikurangi), Mac Sykes, Tyler Lansedowne, Josh Brown, Rueban Wright (Kamo), Sam Abraham, Ben Berridge, Ben Mathers (Waipu), Rhys Te Nana, Owen Peihema, Kadin Te Nana, Noah Cooper (Moerewa), Tyler Edwards, Quorie-Lee Wilson, Mariu Grace (Wellsford), John Allison (Otamatea).