When Hawke's Bay Sevens representative Tamati Samuels is hard at work as an apprentice builder he usually saves the rugby chat for smoko breaks.

But when the Davcon Construction Ltd worker got a phone call as he arrived on a building site at 7.30am yesterday he had to politely request some unexpected leave.

"It was from All Black Sevens manager Ross Everiss asking if I would be available for the London Sevens this weekend because they had picked up some injuries including one to halfback Rocky Khan. I replied definitely," an elated Samuels explained as he hastily packed some gear so he would be ready for a 1.45pm flight to Auckland.

"You don't turn down opportunities to represent your country. Should I get the chance to pull on the black jersey it will be the first time I've worn the silver fern. I missed out on the New Zealand Secondary Schools team and missed the last cut for the New Zealand Under-20s when I was younger," Samuels, 24, said.

Advertisement

"It will be my first trip to London and I've never been passed Aussie when going overseas previously."

The Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical club player must have made an impression on All Black Sevens co-coaches Scott Waldrom and Tomasi Cama when he attended an extended squad training camp a fortnight ago in Mount Maunganui. He was the only Bay rep invited to the camp.

"It was a good experience to be around those high calibre sevens players. It was quite exciting and I learnt a lot. It made me want to make those camps more often," Samuels said.

The All Black Sevens lost to eventual winners South Africa in the semifinals at the weekend's Paris Sevens before beating England 12-5 in the bronze medal playoff. The Kiwis have yet to win a tournament on the 2016-17 series and the London tournament will be the final chance to do so.

Should Samuels get some game time in London it will be another positive spin off of the Texans decision to take sevens more seriously last summer. In the wake of that decision Tech entered the Poverty Bay Sevens tournament in November which they won and Gisborne Boys' High School product Samuels captured the player-of-the-tournament award.

This qualified Tech for the national tournament in Hamilton at Waitangi Weekend and they recorded a top eight finish. Later in February they reached the semifinals of the Hawke's Bay Sevens in Waipukurau.

In January Samuels was the only Tech player in the Hawke's Bay team which recorded a top eight finish at the National Sevens in Rotorua.

"I learned a lot from Tafai," he said referring to Hawke's Bay Sevens coach and former New Zealand Sevens forward Tafai Ioasa.

"While I played for Tech against Central in the Nash Cup round on Saturday it won't take me long to switch back to sevens mode when I arrive in London," Samuels said.

A former Hawke's Bay under-20 rep, Samuels returned to the Bay last summer after two seasons playing in Wellington. While in the capital playing for Petone Samuels played for the Wellington Sevens team which finished second to Waikato at the 2015 National Sevens tournament in Rotorua.

He didn't play last year, as he had surgery on a shoulder injury collected in a pre-season game.

Should Tamati get game time in London he will be the first Hawke's Bay contracted player to turn out for the All Black Sevens since former Magpie and Havelock North kingpin Gillies Kaka played at last year's Rio Olympics.