Cape Town - All
Blacks Sevens head coach Clark Laidlaw has named his squad
for the opening leg of the 2017/18 World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai.
Laidlaw announced that Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson will co-captain
the team for the busy 2017/18 season which kicks off in Dubai on December 1-2 and includes the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup
“It would be tough to captain on your own over such a long season as
it’s impossible for a player to play every minute of every match in a
sevens season so we feel doubling up helps our group," he told the All
Blacks' official website.
“The way they are working together and getting the best out of men
and the environment is exciting. Having Scott and Tim will grow our
leadership on and off the field.”
Laidlaw has selected 14 players to travel to Dubai, all with previous Sevens World Series experience.
“We wanted to pick as many players that have been with us throughout the pre-season as possible," he explained.
"They have the best understanding of what we are trying to do and deserve this first opportunity.
“What is exciting is knowing that the six or so players staying
behind, will be working hard to get up to speed and that will make it
tough to pick squads for the tournaments ahead.”
The All Blacks Sevens finished runners-up at the Oceania Rugby Sevens
Championship earlier this month and Laidlaw said the tournament was a
great opportunity to get some key learnings.
“On the field, there was some good stuff and also areas that need
improvement, so we have reflected on that and what we need to add into
our game," he added.
“The massive positive was around the values and vision that we have
as a group. We are excited about what the players have done off the
field and the foundation that has been set.”
The All Blacks Sevens kick off the Dubai event playing Samoa,
followed by pool matches against Argentina and USA. Laidlaw said the
focus is firmly on preparing for the first match.
“We are not looking any further than that. We want to prepare well,
if we get that right it should give us the clarity to play well in game
New Zealand squad for Dubai Sevens:
Dylan Collier (Waikato), Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty), Sam Dickson
(Canterbury), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman), Teddy
Stanaway (Bay of Plenty), Kurt Baker (Manawatu), Andrew Knewstubb
(Tasman), Vilimoni Koroi (Otago), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Joe
Ravouvou (Auckland), Issac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Regan Ware (Bay of
Plenty), Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty)