Injury-ravaged All Blacks confirm weakened squad for Cape Town Sevens
Cape Town - Etene Nanai-Seturo makes a return to the All Blacks Sevens team in Cape Town after last turning out in the black jersey at the London Sevens in June.
According to the All Blacks' official website, Nanai-Seturo, Trael Joass and Taylor Haugh all flew to Cape Town this week after the All Blacks Sevens team picked up six injuries in the lead-up to and during last weekend's Dubai Sevens.
While in Dubai last week Kurt Baker, Jona Nareki and Akuila Rokolisoa all sustained injuries before the tournament began, while Sam Dickson, Scott Curry and Regan Ware picked up injuries over the course of the weekend.
In addition, Tim Mikkelson was unavailable due the impending arrival of his first child while Joe Webber is continuing his recovery from an arthritic injury and Joe Ravouvou awaits his New Zealand citizenship after changes to the World Series eligibility rules prevents him from competing until such time.
“Last weekend was quite testing with the injuries but we’ve had three good players join us who know how we want to play the game,” said Laidlaw.
Joass is a fully contracted member of the All Blacks Sevens squad, while Nanai-Seturo spent the 2017/18 season with the team and Haugh made his debut at the Oceania Sevens in Fiji last month.
It will be a young All Blacks Sevens team that takes the field in Cape Town, with the five most experienced members of the squad - who boast 200 tournament caps between them - unavailable to play.
“We spent a lot of last season building depth in our squad and we saw players like Dylan, Sione and Andrew really step up in Dubai.
“Looking at this weekend, we’re here to win. We think we can play better and the group we’ve got here is excited about getting back out there," said Laidlaw.
The All Blacks Sevens side has been drawn in Pool A alongside Zimbabwe, Samoa and hosts South Africa.
That New Zealand v South Africa clash will conclude Saturday's Day 1 proceedings at 19:56.
All Blacks Sevens squad:
1. Trael Joass
2. Luke Masirewa
3. Tone Ng Shiu
4. Ngarohi McGarvey-Black
5. Dylan Collier
6. Vilimoni Koroi
7. Amanaki Nicole
8. Andrew Knewstubb
9. Etene Nanai-Seturo
10. Scott Gregory
11. Jona Nareki
12. Sione Molia
*Taylor Haugh is the travelling reserve.