1 Feb 2018

Spat between Warriors and NZ Rugby heightens

2:12 pm on 1 February 2018

The wrangling between New Zealand Rugby and the Warriors rugby league club continues to intensify with teenager Etene Nanai-Seturo again named in the All Black Sevens side

The 18 year old Nanai-Seturo has been named in the squad this weekend's world series round round in Hamilton.

Nanai-Seturo made his debut for New Zealand at last weekend's tournament in Sydney despite having signed a five-year deal with the Warriors three years ago.

His playing in Sydney caused Warriors chief executive Cameron George to threaten legal action against NZ Rugby but New Zeland Rugby said it's legal advice was that Nanai-Seturo could play.

Etene Nanai-Seturo will again play for the All Black Sevens.

Etene Nanai-Seturo will again play for the All Black Sevens. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand coach Clark Laidlaw has made two changes for this weekend's inaugural Hamilton leg of the World Series.

Joe Webber and Caleb Clarke come into the playing twelve, replacing Andrew Knewstubb who has been ruled out with concussion and Kurt Baker, who moves to 13th man.

"We always said these two weeks were about giving younger players an opportunity even though they are two big tournaments," said Laidlaw.

All Black Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw.

All Black Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw. Photo: Photosport

"There were glimpses from the both of them in the weekend that they can play at this level which is really exciting - they are two 18-year-olds (Nanai-Seturo and Clarke) playing sevens for the first time.

"This is the last tournament before we name the wider squad for Commonwealth Games so for Caleb and Etene to be in the 12 and get game time is important."

A fifth place in Sydney was below expectations but Laidlaw said the team has reflected and know where improvement is needed.

"Our game is settling down now and we understand what works for us. Sometimes we fall back into bad habits; the game against Australia we made a few bad decisions and let them get momentum in the game. That is frustrating but the way we bounced back showed there was a real hunger in the team to play well. We want to win a World Series so every point you play for is crucial."

On coming up against France, Scotland and Argentina in pool play, Laidlaw says it is a tricky proposition.

"We're realistic, they are three good teams that can beat anyone. Day One will be hard to find rhythm because they are physical teams that like to challenge the breakdown and disrupt your game.

"We are clear how we need to play; physical, get the ball and keep it and give good front foot ball to our play makers and hopefully they can break the game open."

Laidlaw said the team has enjoyed being in Hamilton and don't feel the pressure of being the home team, instead they are looking forward to performing in front of family and friends.

"As a player and coach you always want to play at home. We are loving being here in Hamilton, it feels familiar, the guys have been able to spend some time with family. Come Saturday, the crowd will lift us and give us an advantage and we're going to embrace it."

NZ team for Hamilton:

1. Scott Curry - co-captain

2. Tim Mikkelson - co-captain

3. Teddy Stanaway

4. Joe Ravouvou

5. Luke Masirewa

6. Vilimoni Koroi

7. Sam Dickson

8. Caleb Clarke

9. Regan Ware

10. Etene Nanai-Seturo

11. Joe Webber

12. Sione Molia

13. Kurt Baker