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‘We’re not stressing’: Sam Dickson explains All Blacks Sevens’ woes in Perth

By Finn Morton
The All Blacks Sevens after their win over Samoa on day one at the SVNS Perth. Picture: World Rugby.

Drawn in the pool of death for SVNS Perth, the All Blacks Sevens were always going to have their work cut out for them under the scorching Australian sun. But their early exit was still a shock.

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New Zealand, who are the defending world champions after taking out the overall series title last season, were beaten by France and Fiji in pool play. Their only win was a golden point thriller against Samoa, with veteran Regan Ware scoring a last-minute winner.

Those results saw the All Blacks Sevens fail to make the Cup quarter-finals. Instead, the traditional sevens heavyweights were left to battle it out for ninth place.

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Sam Dickson talks to RugbyPass about the All Blacks Sevens early exit | Perth SVNS

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Sam Dickson talks to RugbyPass about the All Blacks Sevens early exit | Perth SVNS

Fehi Fineanganofo scored a double, including a last-minute match-winner as the New Zealanders survived a Canadian scare in the playoff semi-final to win 26-21.

With one more game to play on Australia’s west coast, the New Zealanders returned to HBF Park to play Samoa on Sunday morning. It was another close one.

Legendary SVNS star Tim Mikkelson was the hero with a 15th-minute try which saw the men in black beat Samoa 21-14. New Zealand had to work hard to finish ninth.

“Samoa is a very fit, physical team and Brian Lima has trained them very well,” Sam Dickson, who returned from injury in time for SVNS Perth, told RugbyPass on Sunday.

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“For Timmy to finish off at the end, that’s why we brought him off the bench is his x-factor out wide with his speed. To finish off like that was just great.

“It was a pleasing finish to the tournament even though we didn’t get the result we wanted.”

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The top of the SVNS Series feels like a long way away for the New Zealanders now. After losing their semi-final in Dubai, they were fortunate to make the SVNS Cape Town quarter-finals a week later after finishing third in their pool.

With last season’s World Player of the Year nominees Akuila Rokolisoa and Leroy Carter still among their ranks, as well as the likes of Mikkelson and Dickson, this team boasts plenty of experience, skill and a strong reputation.

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But the All Blacks Sevens are a long way off the mark.

New Zealand have plenty of ground to make up ahead of the SVNS Vancouver and SVNS Los Angeles in about one months’ time.

“It’s probably the amount of rugby that we’ve played,” Dickson explained.

“We had a real disjointed off-season with more than half of our squad playing NPC and we didn’t really have a proper pre-season. We trying to play a little bit of catchup in that case.

“Credit to the other teams, they’re playing outstanding this year and you could see the whole level has raised so much. One to 12 could win the tournament.

“Samoa were unlucky not to go through. They just got pipped by us and Fiji so it just shows how good they are they’re going to finish (eleventh). Just shows how tight it is.

“We’re slowly building towards the Olympics, the Olympics is our main goal. We’ve got a lot of boys returning from long-term injury that’s going to really reinforce our team and bring a lot of energy and fire.

“We’re not stressing. We know what we’re doing and we’ve got a plan in place.”

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Comments

2 Comments
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Pecos 138 days ago

Dickson aged 34, Curry aged 35, & Tim Mikkelson aged 37, are the problem. Too old, too slow, too predictable, can’t stretch the defences as poor acceleration, & their onfield rate of recovery lags. It’s bad enough having one old dude there but THREE.

Time to eject the geriatrics. They’re dragging us down & are creating an opportunity cost by delaying speedier, fitter, younger players to fill these 3 spots. Last season the boys looked great & won the World Series despite these oldies being out injured for most of the year.

A
Andrew 138 days ago

Well off the pace. Thought Dicksons comments a bit disconcerting. Lift your game.

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