Star players re-commit to All Blacks Sevens
allblacks.com 03 Aug 2018 Getty Images
The three senior members of the All Blacks Sevens are the first to commit through to 2020 laying the foundation for Coach Clark Laidlaw’s squad.
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Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson co-captained the All Blacks Sevens throughout the 2017/18 campaign, leading the team to Commonwealth Games gold, World Cup victory and third place on the World Series.
Joe Webber’s season was struck short with an arthritic infection ruling him out of the Commonwealth Games and the remaining tournaments of the season. The exciting play maker is recovering and set to return to the sevens field next season.
Laidlaw said the three players will form a core base of the squad heading into the next two seasons.
“It’s good news for our team to lock in three senior players as we build a squad that can qualify for the Olympics. Having that experience in our group is not only hugely important but hugely exciting as well.”
?? Co-captains with the gold! #RWC7s pic.twitter.com/oBfmRgC4lF— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) July 23, 2018
The co-captaincy of Mikkelson and Curry has been a big part of the team’s recent success said Laidlaw.
“Both Tim and Scott have worked incredibly well together both on and off the field. They have grown as leaders this season, and they have grown other leaders within our group and that’s a big driver of the success we have had.”
While Webber’s season was curtailed by injury, Laidlaw believes he will be a key component in the All Blacks Sevens going forward.
“He is one of the best attacking players in the world and I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet. He’s been unfortunate this year with his illness but his attitude in that time has been so positive; he’s the heartbeat of this team,” said Laidlaw.
?? "Sevens was the sport I fell in love with"
Tag a friend who you think should enter at https://t.co/m5YXEPamQu for their chance to become a sevens superstar! ?????? pic.twitter.com/JNZPu3lLT7— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) July 31, 2018
The work now continues to build the squad going into the 2018/19 season.
“We want to keep the majority of the squad here because that experience is important in a qualification year. In saying that, we are open minded and looking forward to watching provincial, representative and schoolboy rugby over the next couple of months to see if there are players that could add value in our environment.”
The All Blacks Sevens players are currently on leave, they start their season at the Oceania Sevens in November, before the first leg of the World Series in Dubai.
The current co-captain of the All Blacks Sevens, Curry made his debut for the team in Dubai in 2010. Since then he has been a key member of the team, taking over captaincy from DJ Forbes in 2015. The same year he was named New Zealand Sevens Player of the Year. A natural athlete, Curry is known for is work rate and relentless nature on the field. Curry was named player of the final at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and named in the tournament team.
The Waikato speedster has been a standout performer for the All Blacks Sevens since making his debut in 2008 where he ran in 10 tries in his first three tournaments. He has crossed the line more times than any other New Zealand sevens player and is in the top five highest try scorers in Sevens Series history. His stunning form in 2013 when New Zealand won the Sevens Series and the Sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow saw him named IRB Sevens Player of the Year. The current co-captain has been part of the team that has won five Sevens Series titles, two World Cups and two Commonwealth Games gold medals.
Strong and quick, Webber has all the skills needed for sevens which saw him make his debut for New Zealand in the 2011/2012 World Series. The Bay of Plenty provincial player has had an impressive representative career, being selected for the Maori All Blacks in 2014 and earlier, New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Under 20 in 2013. Webber currently plays Mitre 10 Cup for Bay of Plenty and was a key member of the team that went through to the Championship final. Earlier in the year he played for the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians against the British & Irish Lions.