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Caleb Clarke makes successful return to sevens as All Blacks Sevens defeat Australia

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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All Blacks star Caleb Clarke has made a successful return to sevens, taking to the field in the All Blacks Sevens’ 14-5 win over Australia in the first match of their trans-Tasman series in Auckland on Friday.

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The All Blacks Sevens ran out 14-5 winners at Orakei Domain in the first of six matches to be played between Friday and Sunday, coming off the bench in the 12th minute.

It was the 22-year-old’s first appearance for the national sevens side since he featured at last year’s Vancouver Sevens on the 2019-20 World Sevens Series.

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Clarke, who returned to XV-a-side rugby with the Blues after the remaining World Sevens Series tournaments were cancelled, confirmed earlier this month that he would return to sevens to chase an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo later this year.

The five-test All Blacks wing, who debuted for the national side after a breakout campaign in Super Rugby Aotearoa, wasn’t the only Super Rugby star to complete his return to the sevens set-up on Friday.

Chiefs flyer Etene Nanai-Seturo, who also hasn’t featured for the All Blacks Sevens last year’s World Sevens Series, also came off the bench in New Zealand’s first-up win as he was thrust into the fray in the 11th minute.

Neither player featured on the scoresheet, but Clarke put in an eye-catching display, making an impressive tackle on Dietrich Roache, who he then also dragged over the sideline, in his first play of the match.

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Showcasing his strong ball-carrying ability as the game wore on, Clarke and Nanai-Seturo helped close out the result, which was secured via tries scored by Dylan Collier and Amanaki Nicole, both of which were converted by Andrew Knewstubb.

Australia’s only try was scored by former Melbourne Rebels player Pama Fou, who scored a 70m intercept try in the second half.

In the women’s fixture played beforehand, the Black Ferns Sevens came out on top in a 19-0 victory over Australia.

The two sides will feature again at 3:30pm before the All Blacks Sevens and Australia go head-to-head for a second time half an hour later.

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Caleb Clarke makes successful return to sevens as All Blacks Sevens defeat Australia

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