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Curry relishing chance for Games reward

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Lynn McConnell     23 Jul 2014     Getty Images

He had been named to make the trip to Moscow last year for the World Cup but was injured two days before the team flew out from New Zealand and missed out.

But disappointing as that was, he played in all of New Zealand's 2013-14 IRB series tournaments and said to be named for the Commonwealth Games was exciting.

"To get the World Series under the belt again is always pleasing but I guess there was always the bigger goal this year which was the Commonwealth Games. It's only a couple of days out from it now so it is a pretty exciting time," he said.

Another aspect that added to the excitement was feeling part of an overall team, the Games team itself, which had some bigger goals to achieve for New Zealand.

The world champions arrived in the village on Monday afternoon with their first, training session on Tuesday morning. Sherwin Stowers, whose departure was delayed while his wife gave birth, had joined the side and looked to be showing no ill effects of the travel.

Curry said most of the top sides had avoided the temptation to beef up their sides with Super Rugby players. He didn't think it was the sort of thing that would be seen too often in future.

"I think the nature of the game has changed quite a lot over the past few years and you are starting to see more Sevens specialists. And the game is evolving a lot as well.

"To bring in a whole heap of 15s players probably wouldn't be the best idea. In our team make-up we have only brought in one Super 15 player," he said.

There was more structure emerging in Sevens and in the four years he had been involved Curry said it was a lot less the freestyle game that it had been earlier.

"When I first started there were a couple of moves we had but a lot of the general play was open to interpretation.

"But now we have a lot more game plans put in place and the video analysis side of things has ramped up a heck of a lot and just technology in general has changed the game quite a bit.

"We tend to go over our opposition a bit more. When I first started we didn't really watch any video, it was just what Titch [coach Gordon Tietjens] had seen in the course of tournaments. Now we've got video on Ipads that we look at during the week, at lineouts and what opponents do off scrums, so it definitely affects our preparation," he said.

And there was no second guessing who might be the toughest opponents.

The unpredictability of Sevens, and the 14-minute duration of games, meant that a try or two against the grain could swing a game for any side.

New Zealand are in a pool with Canada, Scotland and Barbados.

"We've got a pretty tough draw with Canada and Scotland and I think we're the only pool with two core teams which makes it a bit harder for us, but you never know.

"We're not looking past our first game which is Canada," he said.

There was always a chance at tournaments where a side like the Cook Islands, who only play a few tournaments during the year could turn up and achieve an upset. They had nearly beaten England at the Wellington Sevens earlier this year, he said.

Scotland was something of an unknown factor but he understood they had named two of their Six Nations players in the side.

But there was a familiarity about the New Zealand side. Ten of the players had been involved in IRB Sevens tournaments this year and while Declan O'Donnell and Pita Ah Ki were included in the Games team from outside that core group, they had played in previous years.

O'Donnell, who suffered frustrating shoulder and hamstring injuries, had been in impressive touch during the warm-ups and was among the fittest in the side.

As for the Games action itself, Curry is looking forward to making the most of a day and a half the Sevens players get to watch the athletics, especially Valerie Adams and some of the sprinters and other top track runners in Glasgow for the Games.