NZ Veteran Baker, Rokolisoa Ruled Out

We expect Andrew and Ngarohi to come in and add a lot of speed and power
10 Mar 2019 08:59
NZ Veteran Baker, Rokolisoa Ruled Out
Veteran New Zealand 7s playmaker Kurt Baker celebrates scoring the winning try in the Cup quarterfinal of the USA 7s while Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forwards Josua Vakurinabili and Kalione Nasoko look on. New Zealand won 19-14. but Baker will not play because of an injury and has returned to New Zealand. Photo: World Rugby

Fijian-born Akuila Rokolisoa and veteran playmaker Kurt Baker have been ruled out of the New Zealand 7s team for this weekend’s Canada 7s in Vancou­ver due to injuries.

They have been replaced by An­drew Knewstubb and Ngarohi Mc­Garvey-Black who flew in to join the team in Vancouver.

According to Radio New Zealand, before missing the Las Vegas tour­nament last weekend, Knewstubb was the series leading points scor­er. McGarvey-Black comes into the team after last playing in Cape Town in December.

New Zealand 7s coach Clark Laidlaw said the quick turnaround made it an easy decision to bring in fresh legs.

“We expect Andrew and Ngarohi to come in and add a lot of speed and power,” he said.

“Andrew is having a break­through season and playing bloody well, Ngarohi debuted this time last year in Las Vegas. The indoor stadium here in Vancouver is a fast track and that suits his game.”

The Kiwis finished third last weekend in Las Vegas, beaten 24-19 in the semi-finals by eventual win­ners USA.

“We thought we played extremely well for most parts of the week­end. Against USA we gave away a few cheap penalties which allowed them to get momentum at end,” Laidlaw said.


“We are frustrated to lose that semi-final the way we did but we are confident in where our game is at.”

With his team now sitting second in the world series, Laidlaw said the focus is getting back into the No.1 position.

“That’s our focus, to win the world series. But we are realistic that USA are playing some awe­some rugby and we have huge re­spect for the way they are playing the game. We think we are playing with some consistency, but we need to step that up.”

The All Blacks Sevens need to fin­ish in the top four to automatically qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olym­pics.

Edited by Osea Bola


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