A small Bay of Plenty School played host to the announcement that three local All Blacks Sevens players have re-committed until the 2020 Olympics.

Excited students packed into the hall at Paengaroa School this morning to welcome their surprise guests, Scott Curry, Tim Mikkelson and Joe Webber.

Webber was put through his paces in a demonstration of his stepping technique and the trio signed autographs on the school's overhead projector.

The visit was made a little more special for 5-year-old Kian Webber, who is the son of Joe.


"I love coming to schools, especially little country schools, and to have my boy there was a pretty proud moment," Webber said.

He said Kian already loved rugby and was in his second year of playing Rippa rugby.

Webber, who grew up in Te Puke, was pleased when the All Blacks Sevens were centralised to Mount Maunganui.

After playing for Waikato for four years he said it was good to move home to the Bay.

"I love it, especially out of Maketu. It's 30 minutes to training and two minutes to the boat ramp. I'm a happy man, I'm really into my fishing and diving," he said.

Webber, who was currently injured, said he was proud to watch his team-mates take out the top spot at this year's Rugby World Cup Sevens.

He said it was good to see more interest in the sport.

Joe Webber and his son, Kian, at Paengaroa School. Photo / John Borren
Joe Webber and his son, Kian, at Paengaroa School. Photo / John Borren

"It's getting noticed by younger players too and I think the Commonwealth Games gold medal and the World Cup both really helped raise the profile of the sport."


Webber said he was looking forward to more game time and fewer injuries over the duration of his contract.

He said he would be working towards the selections for Tokyo.

The three senior players were the first to commit through to 2020, laying the foundation for coach Clark Laidlaw's squad.

Curry and Mikkelson co-captained the All Blacks Sevens throughout the 2017-18 campaign, leading the team to Commonwealth Games gold, World Cup victory and third place on the World Series.

Webber's season was cut short with an arthritic infection ruling him out of the Commonwealth Games and the remaining tournaments of the season.

Laidlaw said the three players would form a core base of the squad heading into the next two seasons.

He said it was good news for the team to lock in three senior players to build a squad that could qualify for the Olympics.

"Having that experience in our group is not only hugely important but hugely exciting as well."

The co-captaincy of Mikkelson and Curry had been a big part of the team's recent success, Laidlaw said.

"Both Tim and Scott have worked incredibly well together both on and off the field. They have grown as leaders this season, and they have grown other leaders within our group and that's a big driver of the success we have had."

While Webber's season was curtailed by injury, Laidlaw said he would be a key component in the All Blacks Sevens going forward.

"He is one of the best attacking players in the world and I don't think we have seen the best of him yet.

"He's been unfortunate this year with his illness but his attitude in that time has been so positive. He's the heartbeat of this team," Laidlaw said.

He said experience in the squad was important leading up to a qualification year.

"In saying that, we are open minded and looking forward to watching provincial, representative and schoolboy rugby over the next couple of months to see if there are players who could add value in our environment."

The All Blacks Sevens players are currently on leave. They start their season at the Oceania Sevens in November, before the first leg of the World Series in Dubai.