The All Blacks Sevens are looking to improve on their third place finish in Hamilton when they take the field at Spotless Stadium in the HSBC Sydney Sevens tomorrow.
Coach Clark Laidlaw has made two injury enforced changes with Scott Curry and Dylan Collier both unavailable, Scott Gregory and Amanaki Nicole come into the playing 12.
The team is;
1. Scott Gregory
2. Tim Mikkelson (c)
3. Tone Ng Shiu
4. Joe Ravouvou
5. Amanaki Nicole
6. Vilimoni Koroi
7. Sam Dickson
8. Andrew Knewstubb
9. Regan Ware
10. Kurt Baker
11. Jona Nareki
12. Sione Molia (c)
*Trael Joass is the travelling reserve
After the HSBC New Zealand Sevens, the All Blacks Sevens returned to their base in Mt Maunganui before flying to Sydney on Wednesday.
“It was awesome to go home between tournaments to recover and get in some training, it certainly has made us feel more fresh heading into this weekend,” said Laidlaw.
On the back of a third place finish in Hamilton, Laidlaw said the team aren’t dwelling on their semi final loss.
“For the large part of five games we played well, probably as well as we have in a while. We don’t want to get too frustrated with that semi final against USA, but at the same time it was disappointing. We know the areas we need to tidy up and going into tomorrow its about getting the energy levels up and being ready to go come game one,” said Laidlaw.
• The All Blacks Sevens have won the Sydney Sevens once before in 2016, and have also won World Series events in Australia at the Gold Coast Sevens in 2014 and the Adelaide Sevens in 2011.
• The All Blacks Sevens sit third on the World Series points table – they need to finish in the top four to automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.
• The All Blacks Sevens currently lead the World Series for most tackles, with 311, 40 ahead of Fiji who sits in second. Dylan Collier and Sione Molia are the top two tacklers this season.
• Andrew Knewstubb is the Series leading points scorer, with 119 points from the opening three tournaments.
Day One – Saturday 2 February
11.22am NZT v Wales
4.50pm NZT v Spain
8.55pm NZT v Scotland
Day Two – Sunday 3 February