The All Blacks Sevens have two key goals from the HSBC World Series legs in London and Paris early in June.

The first and obvious one is to try to win one or both the tournaments to close the gap on the teams ahead of them. Fiji lead on 145 points with South Africa (141), New Zealand (120) and Australia (108) leading the chasing pack.

With 22 points for the cup winner and 19 for the beaten finalist at each tournament, this world series is far from over.

The other goal is to blood two new co-captains to strengthen the leadership group ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July.


Head coach Clark Laidlaw says following in the footsteps of outstanding leaders Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson will not be easy but he has confidence in Kurt Baker and Sione Molia stepping up.

"Since we started in August there were a lot of rocks we needed to get in place and we feel we are getting settled in how we train and how we prepare. But we need to accelerate I suppose in some of the other areas and one of those is on and off-field leadership," Laidlaw says.

"Tim and Scott have done an amazing job helping us to create a team and a picture that we really want to see every day. Now their challenge is to mentor a couple of other guys in Sione and Kurt to do the same.

"All the teams have multiple players who can lead the team or drive the team on and off the field, so that's the theory behind it. We feel it is a good idea to accelerate towards the world cup in July but also bring a bit of an edge towards London and Paris."

One of the players named for the two legs in London and Paris was Bailey Simonsson who joins Regan Ware and Curry as Bay of Plenty representatives in the team.

Simonsson played in Hong Kong when the main team was at the Commonwealth Games so this is his first opportunity to play with the elite group.

And he can't wait for his chance.

"It has been a long year of training and I have been working really hard on areas of improvement for me so it is good to get a bit of reward and get to play some rugby with the senior boys," Simonsson says.


"I just want to express myself. I want to get as much game time as I can. It has been a learning year for me, getting into a new environment and ticking off a few of those [goal] boxes."

Simonsson, who plays club rugby for Greerton Marist, has been with the squad based at University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance in Mount Maunganui since the start of the year.

Laidlaw says he "has worked bloody hard to get an opportunity in the first choice team".

"Our job is to make sure he is as ready as possible for the world series. He is a really good athlete, has got a massive work ethic, he is physical and is a really good defender. He is also really good in the air and is a kick-off option for us, and in the game of sevens winning the kick-offs is very important.

"We are quite excited about giving him an opportunity."

All Blacks Sevens squad
Kurt Baker (Manawatu) co-captain, Sione Molia (Counties Manukau) co-captain, Dylan Collier (Waikato), Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Etene Nanai-Seturo (Counties Manukau), Jona Nareki (Otago), Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman), Salesi Rayasi (Auckland), Akuila Rokolisoa (Counties Manukau), Bailey Simonsson (Bay of Plenty), Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty).
Unavailable for selection: Andrew Knewstubb, Vilimoni Koroi, Amanaki Nicole, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Joe Ravouvou, Joe Webber.