James Mortimer 12.Oct.2013Getty Images
So how are you guys feeling?
Well the boys are ready to go; we’ve been freshening up and are ready.
We can’t wait to go, we're pretty fresh.
How fresh are you?
Really fresh! (laughs)
We’re excited about the new season, we’ve been training hard and are ready to go.
You are the champions, winning the overall IRB Series and the Sevens Rugby World Cup, what are the expectations now?
We always are expected to do well so are used to high expectations.
Wearing that black jersey there are always expectations.
But the titles we have won, that is in the past.
So you ignore the fact that you’ve won these titles?
It is always in the back of our mind that we are the champions, but for us it is another season.
We have to start all over again.
We’re glad that we’ve achieved some goals in the past, but now we have another chapter.
What about Fiji’s part in the next chapter, they are the Gold Coast champions and have beaten you in the last two finals?
Yeah we’ve lost to them twice
We know that and it is motivation.
We’ve never won at the Gold Coast (the All Blacks Sevens won last when the Australian leg was in Adelaide).
So you’ve got some targets then?
Yes we have another goal to achieve.
Like the Olympics?
We’re not getting carried away.
First things first, we have the Gold Coast to worry about.
America is our first game, and we have Tonga and Kenya to round out our pool.
So each time we set goals and they are little things.
Some of you lads have been playing ITM Cup, how is the transition?
We have to get into the mindset for sevens.
Some of us have been playing different rugby, but we’ve got to get ready for the circuit.
So it is harder mentally?
No it is more about decision making, we are pretty confident.
We have respect for other teams, but we’re confident this weekend.
Sir Gordon is legendary for his strict diet, has he relaxed more this season?
No that would never ever happen (laughs)
We always have a pretty strict diet.
So even if you win Gold Medals you can’t have McDonalds?
Even if we won the Olympics I don’t think we could have McDonalds.
And if we did, we couldn’t have it in front of him.
So how you eat is important in Sevens?
Yes, it is about pride and having the ability to recover.
Sevens is a fast game so we have to make sure all of our preparation is right.
Diet is so important and for all of us it is still going strong, most of the time (laughs).
Your one of the seniors, do you have extra duties?
As a senior you have to set the standard.
The senior boys get it started at camp.
So you turn up ready to go?
Yeah you have to turn up in great shape and lead the way.
We still play hard otherwise the young fellas won’t play hard.
They won’t listen if we don’t lead so when there are new boys we have to lead the way.
So you are leading the way to another Series title?
We have a tournament first in the Gold Coast.
We are not looking ahead of ourselves; first before the Olympics for example we have the Commonwealth Games.
So we have to go and perform well in this World Series.
Consistency rather than winning legs was key last season, is the same idea in place this year?
We don’t want to just be consistent.
We want to win tournaments. For us we want to win every leg.
If we want to be second we shouldn’t be here.
Do you guys have to bow down and call your coach Sir Gordon?
No he is harmless (laughs)
We have a culture where we can mock each other.
It doesn’t change no matter what; he doesn’t like it if we are too formal, even if we must listen to him!
But he doesn’t like it too much if we keep calling him Sir.
Once again there are plenty of changes, what keeps the All Blacks Sevens ahead?
Most of all we back ourselves to do the basic skills.
There is plenty of change but we have so many young skilful players coming through.
We look to utilise that, so the systems are still the same, and nothing really changes.
We never look back on what happened on before.
So what is the plan before the tournament kicks off, hitting any of the bars in Surfers?
No I don’t think so (laughs)
Most of the boys are in bed really early.
It is a very early start to get massages.
We then have big breakfasts, heaps of fluid and prepare for the hot weather.
We’ve got to stay refreshed or we won’t perform.
Thanks for your time Lote, good luck for the Gold Coast and season ahead (Lote and the All Blacks Sevens open their nine-leg campaign in the Gold Coast this weekend).