The 2019/2020 season of the World Series kicking off in Dubai at the end of November, the Oktoberfest Sevens provides the All Blacks Sevens the opportunity to pit themselves against top international opposition.
With head Coach Clark Laidlaw remaining in New Zealand on leave, Assistant Coach Tomasi Cama will lead a squad that features two debutants.
The All Blacks Sevens team is (*denotes debut);
1. Trael Joass
2. Tim Mikkelson
3. Tone Ng Shiu
4. Amanaki Nicole
5. Luke Masirewa
6. Dan Fransen *
7. Sam Dickson
8. Andrew Knewstubb
9. Regan Ware
10. Ngarohi McGarvey-Black
11. Rewita Biddle *
12. Sione Molia
With regular squad members Joe Ravouvou, Joe Webber and Vilimoni Koroi on Mitre 10 Cup duties, 22-year old Dan Fransen (Canterbury) and 20-year-old Rewita Biddle (Bay of Plenty) will get their first opportunity in a black jersey.
Fransen was a member of the All Blacks Sevens Development team earlier this year, while Biddle was a stand-out in the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 programme.
“We have had a number of new faces with us during pre-season and they have been working really hard,” said Cama.
“Nothing beats game time though, so it’s a great opportunity for these guys to experience international sevens and at the same time it is great for us to develop depth in our programme.”
The Oktoberfest Sevens features seven of the top eight ranked teams from the World Series; the All Blacks Sevens are grouped with England, South Africa and Australia for pool play.
Cama said this pre-season tournament will be the perfect chance to test where the team is at before their first World Series tournament.
“Being able to play against the world’s best in a tournament like this is so valuable especially when we are going into such a big season.”
The All Blacks Sevens have 10 World Series tournaments starting in Dubai in November, before focussing on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in July. They’ll kick off the new year at home when they return to Hamilton for the HSBC New Zealand Sevens, one of six fully integrated men’s and women’s tournaments in 2020.
September 21-22 at Olympic Stadium, Munich
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