The All Blacks Sevens team will be looking to kick off 2019 in style when they take to the field in Hamilton next weekend at the HSBC New Zealand Sevens.
After a shocking run of injuries at the end of last year, Coach Clark Laidlaw has an almost fully fit squad.
The squad is;
|Scott Curry ©||Bay of Plenty|
|Andrew Knewstubb||Horowhenua Kapiti|
|Tim Mikkelson ©||Waikato|
|Sione Molia||Counties Manukau|
|Tone Ng Shiu||Tasman|
Laidlaw said the team has come into the New Year refreshed and there has been an edge at training as they build towards the third leg of the HSBC World Series.
“Obviously we picked up some injuries through Dubai and Cape Town so to have those guys back fit, healthy and available for selection for a home tournament is encouraging.
“We’re as close to full strength as you can get and we’re really excited about putting that squad on the field. There are a few guys that haven’t played much rugby since the World Cup so we need to train right and get into day one well prepared and hopefully build through the tournament as we go,” said Laidlaw.
Co-captain Tim Mikkelson returns to play at his home stadium after missing the opening two legs of the Series due to the birth of his first child. Joe Ravouvou is also set to don the black jersey for the first time since his blockbusting World Cup campaign last July, having gained New Zealand citizenship to make him eligible for the World Series.
Laidlaw said with only the one home tournament a year, the All Blacks Sevens want to make an impression on their fans.
“We’re expecting a huge crowd and home support. It’s something we’re really excited about, playing at home with that expectation – it’s something we want to embrace,” said Laidlaw.
The team will travel to Hamilton on Monday to prepare for the tournament.