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All Blacks Sevens set sights on strong result in Vancouver

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With only three tournaments remaining before Olympic seeding is confirmed, the All Blacks Sevens are focused on a strong performance at the HSBC Vancouver Sevens in Canada this weekend.

Coach Clark Laidlaw has made one change to the side that finished third in Los Angeles with Vilimoni Koroi replacing Ngarohi McGarvey-Black in the starting 12.

The team is;

1. Amanaki Nicole

2. Tim Mikkelson - co-captain

3. Tone Ng Shiu

4. Joe Ravouvou

5. William Warbrick

6. Vilimoni Koroi

7. Sam Dickson

8. Andrew Knewstubb

9. Caleb Clarke

10. Akuila Rokolisoa

11. Etene Nanai-Seturo

12. Sione Molia - co-captain

- Ngarohi McGarvey-Black is the 13th player.

Laidlaw said the team had come through the Los Angeles tournament without injuries and had bounced back well throughout the week.

"We have a couple areas of the games we think we can play better in and we had a few guys play their first sevens in a while last week so they will be better for that tomorrow."

With an eye to building depth in these two tournaments, Laidlaw noted strong performances from Investec Super Rugby players Caleb Clarke and Etene Nanai-Seturo as a pleasing outcome from Los Angeles.

"We were clear why we wanted to bring those guys in for the whole season, because it takes a bit of time to find your sevens legs and the game is always changing. Etene is now showing a real maturity in how he plays, and Caleb’s power and pace is clear to see and he is growing in his confidence. Both players got valuable minutes in tough games last weekend and you can’t buy that sort of experience."

Laidlaw said a strong performance in Vancouver is important on two fronts as the team wants to win but is also accumulating points towards Tokyo Olympics seeding.

As far as pool play goes, Laidlaw said day one matches against Kenya, Spain and Ireland will be challenging.

"They are all really different teams. Sometimes you can get a run of games similar, so you get into a bit of rhythm. But these three teams will chop and change in the pictures we see and the defence we face so we need to be good enough to adapt in each game.

"Kenya, from a physicality perspective ,are one of the biggest teams on the circuit and we have to match that first up. Spain can get up in the big games and we found that out here last year, so we respect them because they are a quality side. Ireland are a consistent top eight team and I think they’ll be excited to have a crack against us and we’ll enjoy playing against them," said Laidlaw.

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