Caleb Clarke included as a travelling reserve for New Zealand 7s

Caleb Clarke included as a travelling reserve for New Zealand 7s

All Black winger Caleb Clarke has missed the initial squad for the New Zealand Men’s Rugby Sevens Olympic team but has been included as a travelling reserve.

Clarke opted to put his test chances on hold in 2021 to represent his country in Toyko. However, the 22-year-old has only been named as one of three travelling reserves by All Blacks Sevens head coach Clark Laidlaw.


 

The team is rich in experience, with co-captain Tim Mikkelson the most capped sevens player in the game’s history. He’s joined by Scott Curry and Sam Dickson who have more than 50 World Series tournament appearances each.

Their experience is complimented by young talent, including Chiefs’ outside back Etene Nanai-Seturo and travelling reserve Will Warbrick, who was discovered at the Ignite7 talent identification tournament in 2018.

Coach Clark Laidlaw said it was the toughest team selection he has been involved in.


“Going to Olympics is the pinnacle of four or five years work. We were conscious of that as coaches and selectors, so we made sure we were really clear on how we want to play the game, where the players were at, and picked the best team to go forward.”

Laidlaw highlighted the need for a versatile squad.




“When you’ve only got 12 players for one tournament, and it could be 40 degrees with high humidity, having players who can rotate and share the load throughout a weekend and still nail their core role is important. We’ve selected backs who can change positions and that is genuinely important.”


Laidlaw also stressed the importance of the entire squad continuing to prepare for the games.

“We don’t usually name a team a month out from a tournament, and we’ve got some players that got dinged up a little bit in the weekend. All the players in our contracted group need to continue to prepare as if they are going to play and in all the conversations we’ve had, they certainly understand that,” said Laidlaw.

The New Zealand Men’s Rugby Sevens team is


Tim Mikkelson (c) - Waikato
Scott Curry (c) - Bay of Plenty
Dylan Collier - Waikato
Tone Ng Shiu - Auckland
Sam Dickson - Bay of Plenty
Andrew Knewstubb - Horowhenua Kapiti
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black - Bay of Plenty
Sione Molia - Counties Manukau
Kurt Baker - Hawke's Bay
Joe Webber - Bay of Plenty
Etene Nanai-Seturo - Waikato
Regan Ware - Bay of Plenty
Travelling reserves: William Warbrick, Caleb Clarke, Amanaki Nicole

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