New Zealand Sevens have confirmed the final places in their 2019 squad for the first HSBC Sevens World Series event of the year.
Commonwealth Games gold medallists and World Cup winners Sam Dickson and Dylan Collier have recommitted to the side, Dickson through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Collier for the 2019 season.
Also confirmed in the 20-strong squad are Luke Masirewa, Tone Ng Shiu and Amanaki Nicole.
All Blacks Sevens Coach Clark Laidlaw said it was pleasing to have the group confirmed ahead of their home tournament in Hamilton this weekend.
“We’re aiming to qualify for the Olympics this season and if we learnt anything from the first two tournaments it is important to have a strong squad from one to 20.
“It’s great to have these final pieces confirmed and this group is excited about what’s ahead. We need to be single minded and treat every tournament like it’s a World Cup because it’s only going to take one bad weekend to potentially drop out of qualification contention.”
Dickson, 29, debuted for the All Blacks Sevens in Dubai in 2012 and is one of the team’s most experienced players with 42 World Series tournaments along with appearances as the Rugby World Cup Sevens, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.
Waikato’s Dylan Collier, 27, debuted in Wellington in 2015 and has gone on to be a regular fixture in the All Blacks Sevens, amassing 29 World Series caps.
“Sam and Dylan have been two of the most consistent players in this team over the past few years and it’s important to have that sort of experience because in big moments they have been there and done it.”
Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole and Luke Masirewa have all re-signed for the 2019 season. Ng Shiu has been a part of the squad for two years, while Nicole made his debut in Hong Kong last year. Masirewa was selected last year after first appearing for the All Blacks Sevens in 2013, he is currently recovering from a shoulder injury.
“These players are part of the next generation, guys that hopefully have a long future in the black jersey and we’ve seen in the past 12 months they have all taken their opportunities,” said Laidlaw.
The All Blacks Sevens squad is;
Kurt Baker Manawatu
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black Bay of Plenty
Dylan Collier Waikato
Scott Curry Bay of Plenty
Sam Dickson Canterbury
Scott Gregory Northland
Trael Joass Bay of Plenty
Niko Jones Auckland
Andrew Knewstubb Horowhenua Kapiti
Vilimoni Koroi Otago
Luke Masirewa Bay of Plenty
Tim Mikkelson Waikato
Sione Molia Counties Manukau
Jona Nareki Otago
Amanaki Nicole Canterbury
Joe Ravouvou Auckland
Akuila Rokolisoa Counties Manukau
Tone Ng Shiu Tasman
Regan Ware Taranaki
Joe Webber Bay of Plenty