They are down on manpower but should be high on motivation.
The All Blacks Sevens embark on the last two legs of the World Series tomorrow night in Paris still searching for an elusive Cup final appearance. Achieving that goal would be a significant step towards moving up the table from fourth, though leaders South Africa will take their second title should they qualify for the Cup final.
Manawatu's Jamie Booth and Otago's Fa'asiu Fuatai, a 2013 New Zealand Under 20s rep as a wing, will debut for a depleted New Zealand, who are missing the likes of Scott Curry, Vilimoni Koroi, Dylan Collier and Beaudein Waaka.
"The team has come together well over the last two weeks and we've had a solid build-up in Paris over recent days. With nine players unavailable due to injury, we were presented with some selection challenges, but the team has come through and are looking forward to getting out on the field," says coach Scott Waldrom, who will hand the reins to Clark Laidlaw on June 1, not long after the final tournament in London.
"Your first international sevens tournament is always exciting, so this weekend is a big moment for Jamie and Fa'asiu. They've prepared well and I'm sure will take the opportunity to stake a place in the sevens programme going forward.
"Our pool is challenging. The USA is playing very well at the moment, having made the final in Singapore and three semifinals in a row prior to that. We have had some tough encounters with Argentina already this series, and Wales is never to be underestimated.
"We are looking forward to upping our performance this tournament. We are placed fourth overall and our aim is to improve that ranking, and as always, win the tournament.
"Our plan is to play great rugby consistently and minimise mistakes. When we play well we can beat the best teams in the series, so it is a matter of staying focused and eliminating errors."
France's veteran Julian Candelon is bowing out of international sevens this weekend at the age of 36 after 42 tournaments. DJ Forbes, conversely, is still playing strongly at the age of 34 and with no less 436 World Series matches to his credit.
The squad for Paris is:
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau, c), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), Trael Joass (Tasman),Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty), Lewis Ormond (Taranaki), Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman), Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty), Rocky Khan (Auckland), Jamie Booth (Manawatu), Fa'asiu Fuatai (Otago); 13th man: Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
Schedule for All Blacks Sevens' Paris pool play:
Day 1: May 13/14
8.44pm NZT v Wales
12.10am NZT v Argentina
3.58am NZT v USA
Day 2: May 14/15