The All Blacks Sevens depart for London today as they embark on the last two tournaments of the 2018/2019 HSBC World Series.
Coach Clark Laidlaw has had a largely fit squad to pick from and has high expectations to close out the season.
The squad is;
Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty)
Kurt Baker (Manawatu)
Dylan Collier (Waikato)
Scott Gregory (Northland)
Andrew Knewstubb (Horowhenua Kapiti)
Vilimoni Koroi (Otago)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Sione Molia (Counties Manukau)
Jona Nareki (Otago)
Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman)
Joseva Rovouvou (Auckland)
Regan Ware (Taranaki)
Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty)
Scott Gregory and Vilimoni Koroi return from injury to bolster the travelling squad, while Sam Dickson, Trael Joass and Niko Jones are currently sidelined.
A six week break since the last tournament has seen the All Blacks Sevens squad have a chance to refresh.
“It’s felt like a mini pre season in a way. We had a couple of weeks away from each other and everyone came back quite excited. We have had a look at our game and reflected where we are at and there is a desire to finish the season with quality performances,” said Laidlaw.
At the past two tournaments the All Blacks Sevens suffered quarterfinal defeats, but Laidlaw said that’s no reason to panic.
“You need a huge amount of perspective when you lose. There are a couple of areas of the game we want to improve but at the same time there are a lot of things that have been going really well.”
The All Blacks Sevens currently sit third on the World Series standings and need to finish in the top four to confirm Olympic Qualification.
“The quicker we can get that done and qualify the better. The focus is on London, we need to play really well next week because we are coming up against teams that have a lot to play for.”
Drawn in Pool C, the All Blacks Sevens will face England, Scotland and Ireland on Day One.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 30 November - 1 December, Dubai - WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 8-9 December, Cape Town - FOURTH PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 26-27 January, Hamilton - THIRD PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-3 February, Sydney - WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-3 March, Las Vegas - THIRD PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 9-10 March, Vancouver - FIFTH PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 5-7 April, Hong Kong - SIXTH PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 13-14 April, Singapore - SIXTH PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 25-26 May, London
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-2 June, Paris