'He won his place in the squad simply on merit' - Tietjens Elder statesman of Sevens, Eric Rush, will be back with New Zealand for one last, last fling at the world's premier tournament in Hong Kong next weekend. While most players would be happy to have hung up their boots at the age of 39, Rush proved he's still got what it takes when he caught the eye of the New Zealand selectors at a final training session last weekend and was duly picked for the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse First Boston Hong Kong Sevens. 'He had a really good run at the selection trials and impressed everyone,' said Kiwi coach Gordon Tietjens. 'He won his place in the squad simply on merit. He showed that he has got over an injury which has kept him out of the squad all this season and I'm glad he is back in the team.' New Zealand will be captained by 29-year-old flanker Matua Parkinson, and will have seven players, including Rush, who figured here last year. Parkinson and Brad Fleming missed out last year due to Super 12 commitments. There are three new faces in the squad, exciting backs Rudy Wulf and Sosene Anesi, and 17-year-old teenager Tanirau Latimer. It will be Rush's 15th appearance in Hong Kong making him the player with the most number of turnouts at the Hong Kong Sevens. He first played for New Zealand at the 1989 tournament. He only missed the 2001 tournament due to a broken leg. Rush last turned out for New Zealand in June in the final leg of the 2002-03 IRB Series in London when the Kiwis clinched their fourth straight world title. But a calf injury had kept Rush out of all the four previous legs of the IRB Series this season. 'We have got a nice blend of experience and youth. It is a good mix and the presence of Rush in the side will add depth to the side. We have the potential to win the tournament but the guys know they have to perform from day one,' said Tietjens. Beaten by a faster-paced England in the final last year, 22-17, Tietjens hopes to remedy that drawback by bringing in youngsters Wulf and Anesi and welcoming back the return of Fleming. 'These three players will give us the pace that we badly lacked last time. We will be able to counter England with these players,'' said Tietjens. Wulf, 20, helped North Harbour win their fourth national sevens title in five years in January. The fleet-footed back was also part of the New Zealand under-21 squad that won the world crown recently. Fleming is an accomplished sevens player who has figured prominently in New Zealand's Sevens World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold medal winning teams. He returns to the sevens set up this season after a season in Super 12 with the Highlanders in 2003. The Kiwis hold a handy 16-point lead over England in the IRB standings, despite both sides winning only one tournament each. But the difference between the two teams has been New Zealand's consistency, having entered all four finals. 'It is time we started to win more finals. We've got to the final of all four tournaments this season but won only one. Our consistency has helped us so far. In fact you could win the Series by not winning one tournament. But it would be great if we could win every final. We can't afford to lose in the pool games or the Cup quarter-final. Hong Kong offers more points than other tournaments and it is important that we are up there right at the end,' said Tietjens, who is returning as coach to Hong Kong for his 11th successive year. In the past 10 years, Tietjens has taken the New Zealand sevens squad to great heights - including winning the Sevens World Cup in 2001, the Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1998 and 2002, the Hong Kong Sevens in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2001 and also winning the IRB Series ever since its inception in 2000. And at his side has been that man Rush. Now the pair return again for another tilt at the title - and in a bid to stop England from winning a hat trick. New Zealand: Matua Parkinson (captain), Eric Rush, Tafai Ioasa, Liam Messam, Amasio Valence, Justin Wilson, Anthony Tuitavake, Brad Fleming, Nathaniel Walker, Rudy Wulf, Tanirau Latimer, Sosene Anesi.