Otago pair in strong NZ side

Injury concerns have abated and an almost fully fit squad will line up in Hamilton next weekend at the New Zealand sevens tournament.

Otago players Jona Nareki and Vilimoni Koroi have both been named in the 14-man squad. Two players will  drop out of the team before the tournament starts.

Coach Clark Laidlaw said the team had come into the new year refreshed and there had been an edge at training as they built towards the third leg of the world series.

"Obviously we picked up some injuries through Dubai and Cape Town so to have those guys back fit, healthy and available for selection for a home tournament is encouraging," he said.

"We’re as close to full strength as you can get and we’re really excited about putting that squad on the field. There are a few guys that haven’t played much rugby since the world cup so we need to train right and get into day one well prepared and hopefully build through the tournament as we go."

Co-captain Tim Mikkelson returns to play at his home stadium after missing the opening two legs of the series due to the birth of his first child. Joe Ravouvou is also set to don the black jersey for the first time since his blockbusting world cup campaign last July, having gained New Zealand citizenship to make him eligible for the world series.

"We’re expecting a huge crowd and home support. It’s something we’re really excited about, playing at home with that expectation. It’s something we want to embrace," Laidlaw said.

The team will travel to Hamilton on Monday to prepare for the tournament.


All Black Sevens
For Hamilton tournament

Kurt Baker, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry (co-captain), Sam Dickson, Scott Gregory, Andrew Knewstubb, Vilimoni Koroi, Tim Mikkelson (co-captain), Sione Molia, Jona Nareki, Amanaki Nicole, Joe Ravouvou, Tone Ng Shiu, Regan Ware.

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