7 Dec 2018

All Black Sevens hopeful for top finish

5:15 pm on 7 December 2018

The All Black Sevens have lost five experienced players to injury ahead of their last tournament of the year at the Cape Town Sevens.

All Black Sevens player Dylan Collier

All Black Sevens player Dylan Collier Photo: © Aflo / Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

Etene Nanai-Seturo has been released from pre-season training with the Chiefs and will make a return to the All Blacks Sevens team in Cape Town after last turning out in the black jersey at the London Sevens in June.

Nanai-Seturo, Trael Joass and Taylor Haugh flew to Cape Town this week after the All Blacks Sevens team picked up five injuries in the led up to and during the Dubai Sevens.

"Last weekend was quite testing with the injuries but we've had three good players join us who know how we want to play the game," said Laidlaw.

Joass is a fully contracted member of the All Blacks Sevens squad, while Nanai-Seturo spent the 2017/18 season with the team and Haugh made his debut at the Oceania Sevens in Fiji last month.

It will be a young All Blacks Sevens team that takes the field in Cape Town, with the five most experienced members of the squad: Kurt Baker, Akuila Rokolisoa, Sam Dickson, Regan Ware and Scott Curry - who boast 200 tournament caps between them - unavailable to play.

"We spent a lot of last season building depth in our squad and we saw players like Dylan, Sione and Andrew really step up in Dubai.

"Looking at this weekend, we're here to win. We think we can play better and the group we've got here is excited about getting back out there," said Laidlaw.

The All Blacks Sevens are facing Zimbabwe, Samoa and South Africa in a tough pool, the assignment intensified by South Africa's celebration of what would have been Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday.

The All Blacks Sevens won the Cape Town event in 2017, their tenth title in South Africa.