All Blacks Sevens Coach Clark Laidlaw has named the squad to travel to the HSBC USA and Canada Sevens next month.
Bay of Plenty’s Ngarohi McGarvey Black is the only newcomer, while Dylan Collier, Trael Joass and Andrew Knewstubb all return from injury.
The squad is (*indicates new cap):
Ngarohi McGarvey Black*
Laidlaw said having a fully fit squad to pick from made for some tough decisions.
“This is the hardest squad I have had to pick so far; all our players have performed well this season. When we are leaving out players like Teddy Stanaway, Luke Masirewa, Kurt Baker and Tone Ng Shiu it shows the strength and depth we are building.”
Andrew Knewstubb returns after suffering concussion in Sydney, Dylan Collier has recovered from an achilles strain which has seen him sidelined since the Cape Town victory while it will be Trael Joass’ first tournament this season.
21-year-old Ngarohi McGarvey Black was brought into the All Blacks Sevens squad after a strong showing at the Bayleys National Sevens in January and Laidlaw said he has continued to impress.
“Ngarohi has been on the radar since he was at Rotorua Boys’ (High School). I saw him for the first time at Regionals last year and he turned heads that day and he stood out for Bay of Plenty at Nationals.
“We believe he can play anywhere in the backline which gives us some flexibility in the squad and it will be a great experience for him to be in the group for the next two weeks.”
The All Blacks Sevens open the USA Sevens tournament against Uruguay before meeting Argentina and Scotland in pool play for the second event in a row.
“We don’t know too much about Uruguay because they aren’t regulars on the Series circuit but we expect they’ll be aggressive at the breakdown and good in contact.
“We’ve had some tight matches against Argentina so far and they are one of the form teams while Scotland proved to be tricky opposition in Hamilton. So, we have a lot of respect for these teams and know it will be a tough group.”
Laidlaw said while the Commonwealth Games is fast approaching, the focus is firmly on producing good results over the next two weeks.
“The goal is to win. Commonwealth Games is just around the corner but we’re not resting players for that, we are going as strong as we can, and we want to win.”
All Blacks Sevens Schedule, HSBC USA and Canada Sevens
Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Friday 2 March
3.22pm v Uruguay
6.23pm v Argentina
Saturday 3 March
11.52am v Scotland
Sunday 4 March – Finals Day
10-11 March, Vancouver
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-2 December, Dubai – RUNNERS UP
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 9-10 December, Cape Town – WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 26-28 January, Sydney – FIFTH PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 3-4 February, Hamilton – FOURTH PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-4 March, Las Vegas
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 10-11 March, Vancouver
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 6-8 April, Hong Kong
Commonwealth Games, 13-15 April, Gold Coast
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 28-29 April, Singapore
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-3 June, London
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 8-10 June, Paris
Rugby World Cup Sevens, 20-22 July, San Francisco