The All Blacks Sevens team to play the seventh leg of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong, starting this Friday, has been named.
The 14-man squad side features three changes from last month’s Vancouver tournament. Auckland’s Joe Ravouvou has been selected in the team for the first time while Sam Dickson returns from injury and Regan Ware comes back into the team
The team is:
Scott Curry – Captain (Bay of Plenty)
Dylan Collier (Southland)
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)
Iopu Iopu-Aso (Taranaki)
Trael Joass (Tasman)
Vilimoni Koroi (Otago)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Sione Molia (Counties Manukau)
Joe Ravouvou (Auckland)
Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato)
Beaudein Waaka (Taranaki)
Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty)
Andrew Knewstubb (Tasman)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
All Blacks Sevens Head Coach Scott Waldrom said that having a fully fit squad has made a difference.
“We’ve had a good build up heading into Hong Kong, especially being able to welcome back four players who have been injured so far this season. It’s been great having them fully participating in training and you can see the increased competition amongst the players now that we have a fully fit squad,” Waldrom said.
The Hong Kong 10s tournament, running on 5-6 April before the Hong Kong Sevens, will also provide some valuable international game and tournament time with four contracted All Blacks Sevens players, with Lewis Ormond, Tone Ng Shiu, Teddy Stanaway and Joe Webber playing.
“We head to Hong Kong with a large number of players involved in the two big events this week. We welcome Sam Dickson back and Joe Ravouvou for the first time into our 14 preparing for the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. It’s also great for Teddy, Lewis and Joe to get their first hit-out of international rugby for the year at the Hong Kong 10s on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Having these guys return has brought an edge to training these past few weeks and I expect that to carry on into this weekend’s sevens tournament.
“Hong Kong is the Holy Grail of Sevens tournaments and brings out the best in teams so we are excited about the challenges ahead and believe we have the ability to do well if we get the basics right and play with consistency which is what we have been working on in training.
“No pool is easy these days but they don’t get much harder than this weekend’s Hong Kong pool with a Welsh team that is capable of beating anyone on their day, an improving Japanese side that will take confidence out of their result against us at the Rio Olympics and a red-hot Fijian outfit who always relishes playing in Hong Kong.”
Audio of Scott Waldrom is available here