Wellington rugby player Losi Filipo has controversially been named in the New Zealand Sevens development team after going through rehabilitation stemming from a violent street attack in 2015.
Filipo is one of 12 players picked in the All Blacks Sevens development squad.
His selection comes three years after he was sentenced to nine months’ supervision for assaulting four people, which included two women, in 2015 when he was 17. He was also ordered to attend alcohol counselling and a course on living without violence.
The punishments were handed down in 2016 after a High Court judge overturned the original decision to discharge him without conviction.
Nicki Nicol, leader of New Zealand Rugby’s Respect and Inclusion programme, says Filipo’s selection has been approved by the NZR.
“He has shown remorse, commitment and determination to make positive changes and rugby continues to play an influential role in Losi’s life.
“NZR does not condone violence and is actively investing in programmes that support safer communities.”
Filipo will assemble with the rest of the squad this weekend before they travel to Okinawa, Japan to play matches over two days against the Japanese national team.
NZR Sevens Development manager Chad Tuoro says the development programme is crucial to developing New Zealand’s sevens structure further.
“Our development programmes are promoting players into the professional sevens environment and it’s vital to have that next tier of players ready to step up into the World Series.
“Being able to give these players international experience is an incredible opportunity and going to Okinawa gives us a look at where our sevens teams will be based for the Olympic Games.”
All Blacks Sevens development squad: Losi Filipo, Dan Fransen, Taylor Haugh, Jacob Kneepkens, Peni Lasaqa, James Little, Josh Moorby, Curtis Reid, Adam Simpson, Te Puoho Stephens, Te Rangatira Waitokia, William Warbrick.
Black Ferns Sevens development squad: Kendall Buckingham, Amy du Plessis, Dhys Faleafaga, Tynealle Fitzgerald, Tysha Ikenasio, Isla Norman-Bell, Rina Paraone, Mererangi Paul, Cheyelle Robins-Reti, Kennedy Simon, Grace Steinmetz, Kiki Tahere, Kalyn Takitimu-Cook.