There will no excuses around poor preparation should the All Blacks Sevens fail to fire in their title defence at this weekend's Wellington tournament.

While poor preparation was a valid reason for a mediocre Dubai World Series tournament in December, New Zealand are now coming off a four-day camp in Rotorua and a full week in the capital as they seek a fourth consecutive Cup crown in their home event and a rise up the log from their current standing of fifth.

Coaches Scott Waldrom and Tomasi Cama have opted to cut the rookie Tasman duo of Andrew Knewstubb and Trael Joass from the 14 as they finalised their 12-man squad, but two rookies will be involved, 18-year-old playmaker Vilimoni Koroi and Tasman's Tone Ng Shiu. Koroi is an excitement machine, fresh out of school and with skills to match his speed.

Captain Scott Curry, who missed the 2016 event, indicated that both new caps would be eased into it and would not start the opener against Samoa.


"It's a big game, so hopefully a few nerves were settled in the captain's run. There's a good buzz in the team and everybody is just getting really clear on the game plans. We want to play with a really positive intent this weekend, so if there are opportunities, (the coaches) want us to express ourselves," Curry says, who is looking no further than the first play against Samoa.

He was happy that friends and family could finally get to watch them play in a decent time zone after the overnight (NZT) events in Dubai and Cape Town before Christmas.

Waldrom is happy with what his charges have done this week and where they are at.

Wellington tends to bring the best out of New Zealand, even this team, which is rebuilding to a certain extent after the heartache of the Rio Olympics.

"I think we're in a really good place heading into the weekend," he says.

TV coverage starts from 10.50am tomorrow and New Zealand have a potentially juicy tussle first-up, at 1.41pm, against Samoa, now guided by the 1994-2016 national coach Sir Gordon Tietjens.

27 Jan, 2017 3:20pm
3 minutes to read

Tietjens has sought to address Samoa's recent inconsistency by having them train together in his Mt Maunganui back yard, so you can guarantee they will be fit, at the very least. It will be a popular Cup quarter-final qualification if they achieve that feat ahead of France and USA. The stumbling block for the Pool C quarter-finalists, assuming New Zealand is among them, is that South Africa and Fiji are the likely Pool B quarter-finalists.

Australia also have two new caps but will be pushing it to advance from Pool B, where the two sevens heavyweights loom large.

All Blacks Sevens squad: Scott Curry (c), Dylan Collier, DJ Forbes, Iopu Iopu-Aso, Rocky Khan, Vilimoni Koroi, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Tone Ng Shiu, Sherwin Stowers, Isaac Te Tamaki, Regan Ware

All Blacks Sevens tomorrow (Pool C):
1.41pm v Samoa
5.05pm v France
9.02pm v USA