Koroi, Curry happy with way All Blacks Sevens are shaping

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Lynn McConnell     01 Feb 2018     Getty Images

No side can afford to leave him unattended because he is so quick off the mark that had can make opponents pay dearly.

He admitted ahead of the HSBC World Sevens tournament in Hamilton at the weekend that after a year at the top level he was starting to feel more confident in his role as a result of the team environment, the coaching he's getting from head coach Clark Laidlaw and the assistant coach Tomasi Cama, and the support of his team-mates.

Koroi said he felt he had developed on and off the field. And Laidlaw had made an impression since taking up the position of coach for this year's campaign.

"He's quite a passionate coach, he rips into us if we do something wrong but if you do something right he really compliments us," he said.

"Tomasi's advice is just to be confident, to play your game and be confident in the abilities you have and using your strengths and working on your weaknesses," he said.

Gaining confidence took time, he said and it took a few tournaments to acquire that feeling.

"But when you have players like Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson the confidence comes up pretty quick," he said.

Koroi was happiest with the way his attacking play had developed during the year.

"I've been working on it really hard and Tomasi has been helping me really well, helping me make the right decisions on the field," he said.

Playing at a new venue would be refreshing. Koroi said he had experienced Wellington and was looking forward to Hamilton and was conscious of Laidlaw's thought not to let the occasion take you over but to take over the occasion.

Having been involved in the side for a year now,

Captain Scott Curry has been pleased with the way the new players had fitted into the side.

"I think we saw over in Sydney that we've got some glimpses of some really good rugby players."

Curry said the skills the younger players were bringing in were probably better than he had when he first came in to the sevens side.

"I think it's a reflection of the culture we're building here where these guys can come in and express themselves and just play footy."

Curry said there was always a little extra pressure when New Zealand was hosting the tournament but they always expected the best from each other wherever they played.

During his career the standard in the series had risen considerably from the point where earlier it was possible to breeze through the Pool play but nowadays no team could be taken easily.

"France, Argentina and Scotland are all easily capable of beating us so we won't take any of them lightly at all," he said.

There was still a capacity among the wider rugby public not to appreciate just how far the game had advanced. Curry said a headline pointing out that the United States had beaten the All Blacks Sevens might cause some surprise but the players knew that was always possible.

"Over 14 minutes it doesn't take much if you just switch off a couple of times and you are 14 points behind and chasing a total," he said.

That had been the lesson from Australia last week where it was important to secure key moments in games. Teams had to be on their game throughout and couldn't afford lapses.

That had been borne out in the quarterfinal playoff against Australia when New Zealand lost some key moments, Australia kicked long and put on the pressure.

"We didn't adapt fast enough with exit strategies and that's something we've worked on for this week," he said.