Two months after Rewita Biddle played a key role in Te Puna winning the 2019 Baywide Men's Premier title, he's off to Germany to make his debut in the black jersey.
Ōpōtiki's Biddle, who turned 21 when his team won their final against Tauranga Sports on July 20, has been named in the All Blacks Sevens squad that will compete in the Oktoberfest Sevens in Germany to play their sole pre-season tournament ahead of the next World Series.
The 2019/2020 season of the World Series gets underway in Dubai in November, so the the Oktoberfest Sevens provides the New Zealand team with the chance to pit themselves against top international opposition.
With head coach Clark Laidlaw remaining in New Zealand on leave, assistant coach Tomasi Cama will lead the squad that features two debutants - Biddle and Dan Fransen.
With regular squad members Joe Ravouvou, Joe Webber and Vilimoni Koroi on Mitre 10 Cup duties, Canterbury's 22-year-old Fransen and Bay of Plenty's Biddle get their first opportunity in a black jersey.
Fransen was a member of the All Blacks Sevens Development team earlier this year, while Biddle was a stand-out in the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 programme.
Cama said the team's new faces have been working hard in pre-season but game time was vital for development.
"Nothing beats game time though, so it's a great opportunity for these guys to experience international sevens and at the same time it is great for us to develop depth in our programme," Cama said.
The Oktoberfest Sevens, held at Munich's Olympic Stadium between October 21-22, features seven of the top eight-ranked teams from the World Series and the All Blacks Sevens will face England, South Africa and Australia in pool play.
Cama said this pre-season tournament will be the perfect chance to test where the team is at before their first World Series tournament.
"Being able to play against the world's best in a tournament like this is so valuable especially when we are going into such a big season."
The All Blacks Sevens have 10 World Series tournaments starting in Dubai in November, before focusing on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in July. They'll start the new year at home when they return to Hamilton for the HSBC New Zealand Sevens, one of six fully-integrated men's and women's tournaments in 2020.
The All Blacks Sevens team to play Oktoberfest Sevens:
Tone Ng Shiu
All Blacks Sevens 2019/2020 Schedule:
December 5-7: Dubai (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
December 13-15: Cape Town (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
January 25-26: Hamilton (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
February 29-March 1: Los Angeles (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
March 7-8: Vancouver (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
April 3-5: Hong Kong (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
April 11-12: Singapore (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
May 23-34: London (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
May 30-31: Paris (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series).
July 27-29: 2020 Tokyo Olympics.