When the going gets tough on the field New Zealand sevens star Teddy Stanaway looks down at his boots for inspiration.

It is not the boots, but the names written on them that remind Stanaway why he plays - for his partner, Claire, and their two daughters, Lulu and Poppy.

"They're my why. They're the driver for me doing everything I do. I wouldn't be playing right now if it wasn't for my oldest daughter. I wasn't even playing before she was born, I had kind of stepped back and started working. Just before she was born I made the decision that I wanted to make something of myself, so then she can grow up and be inspired to follow her dreams as well. I can't tell her to follow her dreams if I don't do it myself.

"If I do something wrong or I'm off the pace, I look down at their names on my boots and what it does for me is it brings me back to that moment right there and then," Stanaway said.


Stanaway and All Blacks Sevens teammate Bailey Simonsson, along with Luke Masirewa who played for the side in 2013, are expected to lead the way for Bay of Plenty at the Bayleys National Sevens this weekend.

Stanaway last played at nationals in 2016 and said he was "always excited" to put the Bay of Plenty colours on.

"Personally, having not had much game time recently, it's an opportunity for me to go out and use some of the skills I've been working on. I think [being a leader] sort of naturally comes with the experience I've gained through being in the New Zealand team, but the boys in this Bay team are real keen and eager to go. Naturally they'll look to myself and Bailey to pass on some knowledge.

"There's heaps of speed in this team. I definitely think there are a couple of dark horses who might push for higher honours if they can put it out on the park this weekend," he said.

Bay of Plenty coach Paul Tietjens said the New Zealand representative players were as valuable off the field as they were on it.

"It adds a lot of firepower to our team, but not only that, it boosts our experience and they're actually really good leaders for the other boys in the team which helps develop confidence. Obviously being New Zealand players they carry a lot of X-factor as well.

Luke Masirewa in action for Western Bay of Plenty last year. Photo / File
Luke Masirewa in action for Western Bay of Plenty last year. Photo / File

"Teddy is basically a real gut-busting forward who breaks tackles, he's a big defender, very physical in contact, and he'll win a lot of ball on the ground. He's just one of those players who grafts and grinds, but he's also very dangerous with ball in hand - he's a midfielder in 15s so he can break the line.

"Bailey Simonsson is a 19-year-old wing/fullback, he played for the Bay of Plenty under-19s this year. He's come from rugby league in Australia, he's very quick and good on his feet. He's still learning the game, but, in saying that, you put him in space and he's very dangerous.

"Luke Masirewa has played for the New Zealand squad before and is currently playing for a contract. He knows the game inside out, he's very, very skilful, very good in the air and he can break a game open out of nothing in attack. Those are certainly three players we are looking to to perform well around our other core players," Tietjens said.