"The opportunity is sitting there for you," former All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu tells the group of 96 teenagers in Sky TV's excellent documentary on the Red Bull Ignite7 draft, "so make sure you take it".

And so begins the intensive four-day camp for the sevens players – young men and women - picked from around New Zealand who are hoping to become the next national representatives.

Some are athletes in different fields and have little or no sevens experience but have been picked on potential and there is a precedent here in the form of New Zealand's Portia Woodman who was recognised as the best women's player in the world in 2017 after playing netball throughout her youth.

Throughout it all, Sky's television cameras record the triumphs and disappointments of the players, and what they have to go through in order to try to make the cut.


Sevens is known for the intense physical demands it puts on players and the testing these young athletes go through appears to be both cutting edge and extremely gruelling. The notorious "bronco" test in particular is not for the faint of heart.

Those interviewed appear mostly self-assured and extremely open – a testament to their confidence and the skills of the producers, but perhaps the most impressive thing about the documentary apart from the access to the players is how well shot it is, with drones and close-ups of the players as they are tested adding to the visual experience.

These sorts of documentaries are what Sky should do more of given the nation's obsession with rugby and the natural talent – in terms of on-field and in front of camera – our players have in New Zealand.

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The draft's ultimate goal is to identify the next Woodman or Tomasi Cama and it might have done just that.

New Zealand Rugby's high performance sevens manager Tony Philp said: "From a high-performance perspective we believe we have unearthed and developed some exciting talent and developed an event that will broaden our base and enhance our sevens programmes and pathways.

"Having the SKY documentary crew along for the ride to capture the event every step of the way means we can share our experiences and the athlete's experiences with the New Zealand public and bring them along on our journey, which is very important to us at NZ Rugby.

"I'm sure this won't be the last time people see and hear about some of the athletes involved and featured in Red Bull Ignite7: 2018 Draft."

Either way, how these youngsters come together despite often being in competition with each other, and the fun they appear to be having, could convince young viewers to throw a ball around themselves – and that would be a win for New Zealand Rugby in itself.

Sky's director of sport Richard Last said: "When you watch the documentary, it will be clear to you as it is to me, why New Zealand's rugby talent pool is in such good shape."

He's right.

Red Bull Ignite7: 2018 draft documentary will screen for the first time on Monday, December 17 on Sky Sports 1 at 7.30pm