Despite having no teams featuring at the pointy end of the national provincial sevens tournament, South Island provinces are the big winners in the naming of the 14-strong All Blacks Sevens squad for next week's World Series event in Wellington.
The four new caps in the group are the Tasman trio of Tone Ng Shiu, Trael Joass and Joe Tauiwi Memorial Trophy winner Andrew Knewstubb. Vilimoni Koroi is with Otago, but is fresh out of Feilding High School, where his potent outside back play saw him feature for the NZ Schools in both 15s and sevens.
Interim All Blacks Sevens head coach Scott Waldrom has a useful mix of youth and experience with which to attempt a defence of their 2016 title.
"We said that the guys performing well would be the ones rewarded with selection. We are confident that this squad contains the best sevens rugby players in the country at the moment.
"This is a team based on form, and it shows that exciting talent coming through can put their hand up and be successful with national selection," says Waldrom.
"It's exciting to put Trael, Andrew, Vilimoni and Tone into the All Blacks Sevens environment in Wellington. Our focus when we go into camp next Monday is to bring the new guys up to speed with our structures and the team culture.
"There is also a lot of experience in the squad. DJ Forbes will play his 82nd World Series tournament in Wellington, and a number of the other players have been part of successful campaigns over the years.
"We are feeling confident heading into the Wellington tournament. There were big improvements in the team between the Dubai and Cape Town tournaments as the squad got to spend more time together. Since then we have had the nationals and a four-day camp together in Rotorua, so we enter the build-up this week match-fit and gelling as a group.
"Wellington is always the highlight of the series for the boys. There is nothing like having a big crowd at Westpac Stadium cheering the team on.
"We enter the tournament defending champions and we will be giving it our all to hold onto the Wellington trophy and make it four wins in a row."
New Zealand have Samoa, USA and France in their pool.
The squad is (* indicates new caps):
Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty, c), Dylan Collier (Southland), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Iopu Iopu-Aso (Taranaki), Trael Joass* (Tasman), Rocky Khan (Auckland), Andrew Knewstubb* (Tasman), Vilimoni Koroi* (Otago), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Tone Ng Shiu* (Tasman), Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty)