Explosive Northland rugby winger Scott Gregory has forced his way into the New Zealand Sevens side to compete in this weekend's Oceania 7s Tournament in Fiji.
He is one of two new caps alongside Otago's Taylor Haugh named by head coach Clark Laidlaw for the event which is considered an ideal springboard for the HSBC World Series kicking off at the end of this month.
Gregory, who wasn't available for selection by the Blues for next season's Super Rugby competition, is the only Northland-based player in the NZ 7s squad.
A deceptive runner with an uncanny ability to throw his body on the line as a defender, it was only a matter of time before the Hikurangi lad stepped up another level or two.
Chiefs' mentor Colin Cooper heaped praise on Gregory just last week, saying he should be ready for Super Rugby in a year or so should he continue with his fine form for Northland.
A try Gregory scored— steaming down the left flank in an excellent support play before receiving the final pass from Matty Wright— in Northland's Mitre 10 Cup championship semi-final loss to Waikato was among the best in this year's competition.
Laidlaw said the Oceania Sevens was a great chance for the team to get out on the field before the HSBC World Series kicked off at the end of the month.
"We're excited to get back out there. We've had small numbers in pre-season with a lot of guys still with Mitre 10 Cup but the players we have had are working hard and can't wait to get into some rugby.
"This tournament presents a good opportunity for some of our younger players to step up with a number of our senior boys not playing and also builds depth by giving players a crack at this level."
Dylan Collier and Sam Dickson will captain the team, with regular co-captains Tim Mikkelson and Scott Curry travelling with the team as reserves.
The All Blacks 7s team will face New Caledonia and Nauru in pool play when competition kicks off on Friday.