Kiwis change their winning formula
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The New Zealand coach Clark Laidlaw has changed up his team for the next leg of the World Sevens Series, on home turf in Hamilton next week.
The Kiwis share top spot with South Africa – after the BlitzBoks won the opening round in Dubai, beating New Zealand in the Final, and the All Black Sevens return the favour by beating SA in the Cape Town Final a week later.
Changes from the side that won the Cape Town crown last month see Sione Molia return from injury.
Also, Vilimoni Koroi and Etene Nanai-Seturo are included for the first time since their NPC commitments.
Coach Clark Laidlaw said it had taken several days since an internal trial to decide on the final 13 players.
“That’s a problem most coaches would want, having everyone fit and healthy and a squad where you are comfortable that everyone is ready to play,” Laidlaw said.
Nanai-Seturo and Koroi are amongst a number of players who were involved in last year’s NPC and have transitioned back into the Sevens environment.
“Etene had a tough NPC and missed almost the whole season with injury and illness, he’s come back hungry and excited to play.
“We saw Vili’s form in the NPC, he played really well so we are all looking forward to watching those guys have a go.”
After making the finals in the first two tournaments on the season, the goal is firmly set on victory in Hamilton.
“We need to maintain the consistency and momentum that we built before Christmas.
“We are putting all our energy into what’s in front of us and hopefully playing in front of a home crowd will give us that edge and emotional boost to get that win.”
The team will assemble in Hamilton on Monday.
New Zealand squad: Kurt Baker, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Vilimoni Koroi, Tim Mikkelson, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Sione Molia, Tone Ng Shiu, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Salesi Rayasi, Regan Ware, Joe Webber.