Rio Olympics 2016: Curry's return set to boost All Blacks Sevens

All Blacks Sevens captain Scott Curry looks to have perfectly timed his return from injury for his side's Olympic campaign. Photo / George Novak
All Blacks Sevens captain Scott Curry looks to have perfectly timed his return from injury for his side's Olympic campaign. Photo / George Novak

He's been a passenger all year. Now Scott Curry is the fit-again pilot of a giant All Blacks Sevens team chasing Olympic glory in Rio.

Curry's quality and captaincy could inject what is needed into a New Zealand team who dominated sevens for more than a decade before limping to third-place finishes in the last two world series.

Injuries to the 28-year-old and numerous other players stymied Sir Gordon Tietjens' team this year but they are confident of unearthing their best form with a squad close to full strength and brimming with experience.

Curry dislocated his shoulder in Dubai last December, in just his second tournament since taking the captaincy off DJ Forbes.

A methodical approach to rehabilitation began, targeting full fitness going into the team's pre-Games camp in Florida last week.

Despite the tight deadline, he never doubted he would make it.

The only uncertainty came as he lined up his first tackle in a training game against the United States.

"To get a proper game under my belt and get some real contact on my shoulder gave me a shot of confidence," Curry told NZ Newswire.

"It was only then that I knew I was ready for the Olympics."

Curry's return adds size to what was already a towering squad as Tietjens tries to atone for a shortage of top-end speed.

Teddy Stanaway's tournament-ending injury in Florida opened the door for another lanky ball-winner in Lewis Ormond.

"I think size is how the game's gone now, the big players," Tietjens says.

"It's all about winning the contact, holding possession and if you can do that, you win games.

"Someone like Sonny Bill Williams is massive in contact, great at taking the ball up, great defensively, and that's what it takes."

Tietjens acknowledges a Fiji team motivated to win their country's first Olympic gold medal will start favourites.

However, his focus doesn't go much further than the opening games against Japan and Kenya on Wednesday NZ time.

A third pool fixture follows a day later against Great Britain, who boast nine Englishmen in their ranks, along with two Scots and one Welshman.

Later on Thursday are the quarter-finals which Tietjens expects to be of high quality given the stretched-out nature of the 12-team tournament.

- AAP

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