Vilimoni Koroi has his eyes and ears wide open this week.

Why wouldn't he, having just entered the All Blacks Sevens squad as one of four rookies keen to impress and seize their chance, should it come, this weekend at the Wellington World Series event.

Koroi is on a steep, but enjoyable, learning curve, having only finished his last school exam a matter of two months ago. He is rooming with an older, wiser head in Auckland's Rocky Khan, who is bringing him up to speed with what is expected of a professional athlete, both on and off the field. The high fitness levels required are his biggest challenge at the moment.

"He's been helping me with the moves and stuff like that in our down time. I pick his brain most of the time. When he's trying to sleep, I'm trying to work. It's good to have Rocky in the room," says the 18-year-old, a big fan of Ben Smith.


Koroi is now with Otago, but is fresh out of Feilding High School, with whom he made the NZ Schools (15s) in October as a wing/fullback and NZ Schools (7s) in December. He has pace and no little skill in his bag of tricks.

"I'm loving it, every moment, learning from the likes of DJ Forbes and Scott Curry," says Koroi.

"I was pretty stoked when I got the call-up to come into camp (in Rotorua) so I thought I would give it a try and ended up making it down to Wellington. The Condors and the Worlds were really good in getting me prepped for this level."

New Zealand coach Scott Waldrom is excited by Koroi's potential, having watched him star at last month's premier schools sevens events.

"I guess what Vili brings to the team is what New Zealand have not had since Tomasi Cama stopped playing. That is, a playmaker, and the Fijian flair that guys in the past have brought to the team. He brings that ability to attack from nowhere and create space for other players."

The other rookies are the Tasman trio of Andrew Knewstubb, Tone Ng Shiu and Trael Joass. The latter has featured for the Makos, but the former duo are virtually out of club rugby, proving you can make it in sevens without starring in 15s.

Koroi needs to make the final squad cut of 12 to take the field this weekend.