Lessons from Dubai can be applied in Cape Town

World Rugby

Lynn McConnell     10 Dec 2015     World Rugby

Having resumed the leadership in the absence of injured skipper Scott Curry, who suffered a dislocated shoulder, Forbes said the tough second day in Dubai, in which New Zealand played with only one substitute, and at one stage could put only five players on the field in their last game, had some valuable lessons.

"Getting some of the young blood into the team was crucial and the only way you are going to get good at sevens is to experience the tough tournaments," he said.

"As hard as it was, it was a good test for the young guys, and us old horses as well."

That New Zealand had still finished in the top four, and ahead of some of the other top nations, was a big bonus for the side.

New Zealand lost twice to the United States and were beaten by Fiji in the semi-finals, but they had still shown enough resolve to score a last second win over Samoa in the quarter-finals.

As a result of the lessons in Dubai, it was obvious where attention was needed.

"If you look at some of our crucial games from Dubai, you'll see the kick-offs are key and this is something we will be putting a lot of emphasis on at Cape Town," Forbes said.

"Everyone knows sevens is about possession and a lot of those games could have come down to the bounce of the ball.

"That's probably where we let ourselves down a little bit so we will be working on that area of our game. All in all, with the amount of men we had left standing, we still did some really good things so we're really excited about another weekend and getting back into it," he said.

The All Blacks Sevens are drawn in the same pool as France, Canada and Samoa.

"It just gets tougher and tougher. We've already been extremely close against Samoa at Dubai and Canada are going to be champing at the bit and will have been disappointed with how they did last weekend," Forbes said.

"France will be thinking they missed out against us as well and they will have confidence after winning the Bowl, so I guess it's going to set up an interesting pool."

Forbes said that even in the depths of their injury crisis the New Zealanders still played some good football.

"We just need to do the basics well and get a bit more possession and keep up the pressure. We will definitely be getting closer to those top positions and we will keep building," he said.

Cape Town schedule

After finishing fourth in Dubai, New Zealand will face France, Canada an Samoa in pool play on Saturday. Cape Town is 11 hours behind New Zealand.

Day One Saturday 12 December - Pool Play
11:43am (10:43pm NZT) v France
3:04pm (2:04am NZT) v Canada
7:12pm (6:12am NZT) v Samoa

Day Two Sunday, 13 December - Finals
Final at 7.30pm (6.30am NZT)

All games will screen live on SKY Sport’s Rugby Channel.