13 Nov 2018

Rugby: Niko Jones signs on with All Black Sevens

11:13 am on 13 November 2018

Niko Jones, the son of All Blacks legend Michael Jones, has signed a sevens contract with New Zealand Rugby.

There's been plenty of speculation around just what Jones, who led led St Peters College to the National 1st XV title this year and also played for the New Zealand Schools side, would do post schooling.

The number eight, who is currently sitting his final year exams, was being pursued by a number of unions for his first season out of school with home town province Auckland and Canterbury being seen as the front runners.

However, Jones has decided to take a different path, he's one of five players that have confirmed contracts with the All Blacks Sevens.

Niko Jones captain of the St Peters College First XV holds the Auckland second schools rugby trophy aloft.

Niko Jones captain of the St Peters College First XV holds the Auckland second schools rugby trophy aloft. Photo: Photosport

The experienced Kurt Baker has re-committed through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while 2018 breakthrough players Akuila Rokolisoa and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black have also re-signed.

The other new player included is New Zealand Under 20 and Northland outside back Scott Gregory.

All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw said it was great to have five more players locked in as the season approaches.

"This season is important for us because it's an Olympic qualification year. We need to be performing at every tournament we go to, so it is crucial to have a strong squad.

"Kurt has come back into this team and thrived. Not only is he playing some of his best rugby, off the field he is a real leader in this team and it's hugely exciting knowing that he will be with us for the next two seasons," he said.

Rokolisoa, McGarvey Black, Gregory and Jones have all signed contracts for the upcoming 2018/2019 World Series.

"Akuila and Ngarohi both came into our environment earlier this year and have been hugely impressive. Ngarohi's season was cut short with injury but we saw the potential he has in the three tournaments he played. Akuila joined the team as injury cover from the development squad and impressed right from the outset, he was involved in both our Commonwealth Games and World Cup victories."

Newcomers Scott Gregory and Niko Jones are the latest of New Zealand's emerging rugby talent to choose the sevens pathway.

"This year was a perfect example with Etene Nanai-Seturo and Salesi Rayasi playing a year of sevens before picking up Super Rugby contracts. Scott and Niko are outstanding young athletes and its exciting to see what they might be able to achieve in this form of the game.

"Our job is to develop these young men on and off the field; both have big futures ahead of them," Laidlaw said.

The All Blacks Sevens have just returned from the Oceania Sevens, finishing second after a dramatic extra-time Final loss against Fiji.

They depart for the opening tournament of the World Series in Dubai next week.