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All Blacks Sevens ready to impress again on the World Stage - NZ Rugby

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The All Blacks Sevens leave New Zealand tomorrow for the next two legs of the Sevens World Series, with tournaments in France and England their last international preparation before July’s Commonwealth Games.

Coach Clark Laidlaw has named one debutant in the traveling party of 14 players, with Sam Dickson again tasked with leading the team alongside vice captains Dylan Collier and Joe Webber.

The All Blacks Sevens team for Toulouse Sevens and London Sevens is;

Leroy Carter

Dylan Collier

Sam Dickson - captain

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black

Sione Molia

Tone Ng Shiu

Amanaki Nicole

Akuila Rokolisoa

Brady Rush

Roderick Solo - debut

Caleb Tangitau

Kitiona Vai

Regan Ware

Joe Webber

Unavailable due to injury: Kurt Baker, Andrew Knewstubb, Moses Leo, Tim Mikkelson.

The side features the return of two Olympians that missed last month’s tournaments, Amanaki Nicole returning from injury and Siona Molia who had stayed in New Zealand after the birth of his first child.

Laidlaw said having experienced players returning is always pleasing.

"They will come in and hit the ground running. Both have been training really well so they are in a good mental and physical state to get out and play on the world stage."

On the other end of scale is Wellington debutant Roderick Solo, who becomes the sixth new player to run out in an All Blacks Sevens jersey this season.

"We loved we what saw of Roderick when we were playing in Fiji. He has a good passing game, strong footwork and is a good defender so we are excited to give him an opportunity.

"We have a strong group of senior players but we are now starting to build some solid depth again - it won’t take much for these young players to play their way into the Commonwealth Games team."

After second and sixth place finishes in their return to the World Series, Laidlaw said they have been clear in the areas they want to work on.

"We want to keep growing our game. I think we saw our attack gained more rhythm and our defence was more organised as those last two tournaments progressed but we had some soft moments. It’s the urgency and concentration to win six games in a row that we need to get back in the habit of.

"We’ve seen a real shift since coming home in terms of growing our game and the players are focused on playing efficient rugby, creating opportunities and capitalising on them".

Laidlaw said missing the experience of Mikkelson and Baker was a loss.

"Its frustrating for both of them, and for us. They have niggles and are close but when we are traveling with small squads its difficult to take players that aren’t quite right so its better they stay at home and get themselves right."

Also out of action is Andrew Knewstubb, who will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a knee injury in Singapore and Moses Leo is sustained a lower leg injury but should be available for selection for the Commonwealth Games.

The All Blacks Sevens travel to France tomorrow, and will come up against Scotland, USA and Australia at the Toulouse Sevens.

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