All Blacks Sevens look to continue winning ways
allblacks.com 22 Feb 2019 Getty Images
Coach Clark Laidlaw has named one potential debutant in the squad that is traveling to Las Vegas, 23-year-old Te Puoho Stephens from Tasman.
The All Blacks Sevens squad is;
Kurt Baker - Manawatu
Sam Dickson - Canterbury
Scott Gregory - Northland
Trael Joass - Bay of Plenty
Vilimoni Koroi - Otago
Tim Mikkelson - Waikato
Sione Molia - Counties Manukau
Jona Nareki - Otago
Joe Ravouvou - Auckland
Akuila Rokolisoa - Counties Manukau
Tone Ng Shiu - Tasman
Te Puoho Stephens - Tasman
Regan Ware - Taranaki
Injuries to forwards Scott Curry, Dylan Collier, Amanaki Nicole and Luke Masirewa sees Stephens promoted to the All Blacks Sevens squad for the Las Vegas and Vancouver tournaments.
“Te Puoho Stephens is a non-contracted player that we have brought in to our group. He has had a good couple of years for Tasman at the National Sevens and in our development programme this season so it is a great opportunity for him,” said Coach Clark Laidlaw.
Fresh from victory at the Sydney Sevens, the All Blacks Sevens sit atop the World Series rankings on equal points with USA and Laidlaw said these next two weeks will be crucial for Olympic Qualification hopes.
“We are really happy with how we’ve played but are realistic that there is a lot of rugby to come. These two weeks will have a big bearing on the top four, we need to put our heads down, roll up our sleeves and really push hard for those semi finals and finals again.”
Drawn in Pool A, here's how Las Vegas looks for the #AllBlacks7s:
Saturday 2nd March ???
?: 1.06pm NZT v Samoa
?: 4.07pm NZT v Canada
Sunday 3rd March ???
?: 9.36am NZT v Spain#USA7s pic.twitter.com/TR2dkCPspj— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) February 19, 2019
This year marks the tenth Las Vegas Sevens tournament, where the All Blacks Sevens have finished runners-up on five occasions and will be looking to go one better next weekend.
“Last year we were preparing for Commonwealth Games and didn’t have Las Vegas as a focus. This year we are going over slightly early to help with the time difference and to get settled so hopefully that can get us on the front foot and set us up for a good week of training,” said Laidlaw.
Following the Las Vegas tournament the team will travel to Canada for the Vancouver Sevens the following weekend.
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 30 November - 1 December, Dubai - WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 8-9 December, Cape Town - FOURTH PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 26-27 January, Hamilton - THIRD PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-3 February, Sydney - WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-3 March, Las Vegas
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 9-10 March, Vancouver
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 5-7 April, Hong Kong
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 13-14 April, Singapore
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 25-26 May, London
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-2 June, Paris
What a debut in @SuperRugbyNZ for #AllBlacks7s number 286, Etene Nanai-Seturo ?? pic.twitter.com/XlDeyBkNyM— All Blacks Sevens (@AllBlacks7s) February 20, 2019