Hong Kong Sevens: All Blacks Sevens hope to honour Christchurch shooting victims

By Michael Hudson

The All Blacks Sevens will be the first New Zealand national team in action since the tragic Christchurch shootings last month and head coach Clark Laidlaw told Hong Kong media that the best way to honour the victims was to perform at their very best

A lone gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch during the Friday prayer on March 15, killing 50 people and hospitalising another 50. The shootings shocked New Zealanders and the world and Laidlaw admitted that it was a difficult time for everyone in the country.

However, he told the South China Morning Post that they would keep their emotions in check during the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, which kicks off on Friday.

“As the first national team to be playing since the events, we don’t want emotions to get ahead of us and we want to make sure we stick to how we want to play,” Laidlaw was quoted as saying. “It was a tough week for everybody. Our team, our job is to come out here and play good rugby. The best thing we can do for Christchurch, for our country, is to play bloody well.”

New Zealand have been drawn in a difficult pool against Fiji, Kenya and South Africa in pool C of the Hong Kong Sevens and will indeed need to play their best rugby to qualify for the next round.

The All Blacks Sevens are second in the HSBC World Sevens Series standings on 106 points, seven points behind series leaders USA (113 points) and five points clear of third placed and defending Hong Kong champions Fiji.

They have won two tournaments so far out of six, in Dubai and Sydney.

Laidlaw was speaking at a press conference for coaches ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens. He was joined by Gareth Baber (Fiji), Mike Friday (USA) and Waisale Serevi (Russia).

Photo caption: Hong Kong Sevens coaches Clark Laidlaw (New Zealand), Mike Friday (USA), Gareth Baber (Fiji) and Waisale Serevi (Russia).


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