The All Blacks Sevens are desperate to reach their first Cup final of the 2016-17 World Series in Vancouver this weekend, but know a drastic reduction in the error rate is imperative.

New Zealand placed fourth in Las Vegas, struggling to adjust to the narrow field and the coarse artificial surface at Sam Boyd Stadium - from which three players were on antibiotics this week - not to mention gale force winds on the final day. For all that, they lost three of their six matches narrowly, making errors or conceding penalties or yellow cards at inopportune moments. Their best display was the 19-0 Cup quarter-final victory over England, in which Tim Mikkelson with a double and some direct play from rookie Trael Joass stood out.

New Zealand are top seeds in Pool D and should emerge from pool play to face either England or Kenya on day two in the Cup quarter-finals.

The good team news is that skipper Scott Curry is back in the fold, having come through his concussion issues. Ambrose Curtis will suit up for his 19th tournament after coming in as a late replacement in Las Vegas. Tasman duo Andrew Knewstubb and Tone Ng Shiu drop out of the 12.


"It's great that Scott has fully recovered from his concussion and is all clear to start this weekend. His leadership, aerial skills and speed up front will be welcomed back," said All Blacks Sevens coach Scott Waldrom.

"Ambrose has earned his spot in the starting 12. He brings experience from previously playing for the All Blacks Sevens and, with his recent time with the Blues, is a good addition to the team.

"I'm looking for the team to step up and play with improved discipline. Again in Las Vegas we showed glimpses of the squad we can be, but we let ourselves down in the games that mattered with simple errors. To move past the semifinals and take out a tournament we need to play without mistakes in every game.

"We go into the tournament keen to make our first final of this series. We are first up against Russia, who are improving, Scotland is only a couple of places behind us on the overall series standings and have shown they can win against the top teams, and Canada will be keen to impress at home. So we are going to have to work hard on day one to earn our spot on finals day."

That New Zealand-Canada clash is the climax to day one, so the 35,000 crowd should be in full voice by then.

New Zealand are fourth on the overall standings, but trail leaders South Africa by 36, so at the halfway point of the World Series, they may be playing for second of third.

All Blacks Sevens: Scott Curry (c), DJ Forbes, Dylan Collier, Iopu Iopu-Aso, Trael Joass, Vilimoni Koroi, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Sherwin Stowers, Isaac Te Tamaki, Beaudein Waaka, Ambrose Curtis; 13th man: Andrew Knewstubb; Travelling reserve: Tone Ng Shiu

All Blacks 7s in Pool D on Sunday (NZT):
9.04am v Russia
12.40pm v Scotland
4.20pm v Canada