The All Black Sevens coaching staff are impressed with the level of young Māori players developing across the country.
Incoming coach, Clark Laidlaw and assistant coach, Tomasi Cama, have been scouting future talent at various sevens tournaments to bring into the squad for the upcoming World Series.
The new coach is in town, scouting the hottest sevens talent in the country.
Clark Laidlaw says, “We're looking for work rate, we're looking for skill, and players that can back up, make good decisions.”
Tomasi Cama says, “A lot of young players coming through even last week we saw the secondary schools and the condor that's exciting moving forward.”
Over 150 players from 12 teams across the country are gearing up for the national competition next week. 80% of them are Maori vying for the black jersey.
Cama says, “We've seen over the years young Māori player coming through good thing is they got the skills, they got everything. Is just a matter of us trying to put a system in place for those guys to come through.”
With 13 players already contracted to the All Black Sevens that leaves 7 contracts up for grabs.
Laidlaw says, “So it's a real balance for us trying to find talent that we think can play really well this year in the World Series as well as an eye to development for the future. The com games in 2018 and obviously the Olympics.”
A dream for the graduates of the New Zealand Māori secondary schools team, like 17-year-old Brady Rush, son of the legend of the game.
Peter Knock says, “He just knows the game so well and he's got the self-belief in himself that I can do this. And that the good thing about these young fullas, they have no fear.”
These veterans know the only way to make it is with hard work.
Roger Randall says, “I guess this time of the year it's easier being at the beach and holiday with your whānau, and have some big feeds but you gotta be disciplined.”
“Teach them the right stuff that they have to do. You know it's the little things, what they eat, what they drink, things that they do off the field that'll help them to perform,” says Cama.
The current pool of players will get another chance to prove themselves in Rotorua next weekend before a squad of up to 23 is selected for an All Black Sevens camp to be held in Rotorua following the tournament.