Experienced All Blacks Sevens team named season opener
All Blacks Sevens Coach Clark Laidlaw has named 14 players to travel for the opening two tournaments of the HSBC World Rugby Men’s Sevens Series in Dubai and Cape Town.
Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson will again join as co-captains for the season, while new signing William Warbrick is in line for his international debut as the team looks to defend their Dubai crown.
The All Blacks Sevens squad is;
|Scott Curry||Bay of Plenty|
|Andrew Knewstubb||Horowhenua Kapiti|
|Ngarohi McGarvey-Black||Bay of Plenty|
|Sione Molia||Counties Manukau|
|Tone Ng Shiu||Tasman|
|Akuila Rokolisoa||Counties Manukau|
|William Warbrick||Bay of Plenty|
|Joe Webber||Bay of Plenty|
Players not considered for selection due to injury/illness: Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Joe Ravouvou and Etene Nanai-Seturo.
Laidlaw said after a long pre-season, the squad was in good condition and looking forward to starting the season.
“It’s a real credit to the players and the wider team management the condition that the boys are in leading into this first tournament. We have had a long pre-season and the condition physically and from a rugby sense is testament to the hard work that’s been happening,” said Laidlaw.
The only players not considered for selection had returned from 15s duties with injury or illness, while Vilimoni Koroi and Caleb Clarke will remain in New Zealand reintegrating to sevens training.
“The players that have joined us from 15s have all fitted in seamlessly and it feels like they’ve never been away. All of them could have been selected but leaving them behind allows them a proper pre-season training block and we expect that they will be fit and raring to go for our next tournaments.”
After recently announcing William Warbrick’s two-year contract, the 20-year-old is in line for his World Series debut after being selected to travel.
“His inclusion is totally on merit. He still has a lot to learn but the best place to do that is during tournament weeks and adjusting to the intensity. It will be great for his development and we think if he’s called upon, he’s ready to play.”
In the past two seasons the All Blacks Sevens have made three of the four finals in Dubai and Cape Town.
“We are hoping to get off to another good start and build momentum but we are realistic that everyone will have had solid pre-seasons and will be ready to go,” said Laidlaw.
The All Blacks Sevens depart for the UAE tomorrow and will spend some time training in Abu Dhabi before the Dubai tournament. After the season opener they travel to South Africa for the Cape Town leg of the Series, where they will be joined by the Black Ferns Sevens and the women’s competition for the first time.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 5-7 December, Dubai
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 13-15 December, Cape Town
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 25-26 January, Hamilton
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-2 February, Sydney
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 29 February – 1 March, Los Angeles
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 7-8 March, Vancouver
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 3-5 April, Hong Kong
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 11-12 April, Singapore
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 23-24 May, London
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 30-31 May, Paris
2020 Tokyo Olympics, 27-29 July, Tokyo