With Olympic qualification already assured, the All Blacks will be in a unique position this weekend for the final leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Paris.
New Zealand’s coach Clark Laidlaw has made two changes to his squad following their fifth-place finish in London last weekend. It will also be a momentous weekend for the All Blacks captain Scott Curry who will be celebrating his 50th outing in the World Series.
The two squad rotations came about after a foot injury to Kurt Baker in London forcing him to pull out of the squad, while Scott Gregory has been released from the senior set up so that he can join up with the New Zealand U20 side for their fixture against Argentina. Ngarohi McGarvey-Black has replaced Baker, and Amanaku Nicole takes over from Gregory.
Speaking to the official website of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, Laidlaw was keen to emphasise his team’s preparation for Paris.
— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) May 31, 2019
He said: “We were frustrated losing the quarter-final last weekend, I thought we bounced back well against South Africa and Ireland to finish the tournament, but we are here to win. Since arriving in France, the focus has been on getting bodies and minds recovered, and in our reviews, we have found areas we want to replicate in our game and areas we need to improve.”
The All Blacks Sevens coach was also full of praise for Curry ahead of his landmark appearance this weekend. He continued: “It’s a huge achievement, to lead and play the way he does is a huge credit to him and his family. The way he conducts himself makes him an awesome ambassador for the team on and off the field.”
New Zealand have been drawn in Pool D alongside the hosts France, Scotland and Japan.
New Zealand Squad: Scott Curry, Tim Mikkelson, Tone Ng Shiu, Joseva Ravouvou, Dylan Collier, Jona Nareki, Amanaki Nicole, Andrew Knewstubb, Regan Ware, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Joe Webber, Sione Molia.
Main photo: YouTube