New Zealand Senior Men's Volleyball Team depart for Fiji this weekend where they will begin their campaign towards the 2018 World Championships. Standing in their way are Fiji and Tonga.
New Zealand Coach Colin Redpath said "after a good training camp a strong squad has been assembled with the aim of qualifying for the next stage of the World Champs. We are expecting strong competition from host nation Fiji who have had a very good international programme having recently been to the Oceania and Pacific Championships".
Ben Glue will Captain the team, that will feature a mix of experience and youth, Brad Takai has continued his journey with the NZL team that has lasted over a decade. On the new side, Christchurch's Angus Gourlay joins the team after another strong club season with Pioneer.
The team, of course, will feature a strong contingent from Mauao and Pines Volleyball Clubs, after they met in the Club Championship final. Mauao Captain Paora Morunga, after making the NZL teams over the last few years as a Middle Blocker has been selected as a Setter for this squad after a great 2016 season.
The winner of the event will qualify to round 2 which will feature 2 pools of 5 with the best teams in Asia fighting for their place at the 2018 World Championships which will be co-hosted by Italy and Bulgeria. The venues for the next phase will be Australia and Iran and unfortunately the winner will not know where they will travel to until a drawing of the lots.
The World Championship Qualification round 1 matches will take place later next week, with the first 3 days of the tour involving playing a build up Oceania Zonal Tournament. The Cook Islands and Solomon Islands will also compete in the first tournament.