Topics: Sevens, Rugby

All Blacks Sevens name new captain

The All Blacks Sevens have made their mark on the new year, naming a new captain in the hopes the team will come out of their recent slump.  Ngāpuhi and Te Whānau-a-Apanui brothers, Akira and Rieko Ioane are amongst a new star-studded outfit.  

Big names aside, the team knows they have their work cut out for them to make amends for the failings of last year.

They say that the older brother can always correct the younger.  But the younger has capacity to do the same.

Rieko Ioane (Ngāpuhi, Te Whānau-a-Apanui) says, "I think the team is only used to one of us being around, but two of us nah it's good."

How many new faces turned up to training today for the All Blacks Sevens in Cambridge.  Ardie Savea, Ben Lam, and the Māori boys, from the Ioane family back in the mix.

Head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens says, "Rieko played obviously for us last year in the World Series and it doesn't take him long to get back in to it."

A veteran of the side still receiving Christmas joy named captain today of the side for the rest of the year.

New captain Tim Mikkelson says, "The culture is something we pride ourselves on and they come in and a lot of the boys have been in and have gone on to Super and come back you know it's like coming straight back in to the family."

A new year also brings a new brother in the team, Sonny Bill Williams being a big drawcard.

Williams says, "My days in league were tough, but it's just the repetition of it every day.  Every day, I'm lucky enough they're easing me into it so to speak."

Although at least four players still injured from last year, including Declan O'Donnell, Tietjens is not rushing in to throwing his star signing in the deep end.

Tietjens says, "He's really nervous he wants to grasp the information when it's time to put him out there I'll certainly do that."

Regardless he still manages to show the younger players a few tricks.

Rieko Ioane says, "Especially for us younger guys, learning off him."  The younger Ioane excited to get back to where he made his Sevens debut.

He'll get the chance to do exactly that at the end of the month.