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New Zealand SVNS star Sam Dickson relishing ‘honour’ of being back in black

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Alex Davidson - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

It’s fair to say it wasn’t a great long weekend for the All Blacks Sevens in Perth late last month. New Zealand failed to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals for the first time this season and were instead left to battle it out for ninth place with the other teams in the bottom four.


Injuries were once again a talking point as they continued to plague the defending overall series champions’ campaign during the three-day tournament at HBF Park.

But the return of New Zealand sevens veteran Sam Dickson is something to smile about – it’s a positive from an otherwise tough, dark and luckless weekend. The Olympian missed both SVNS Dubai and Cape Town with a hamstring strain.

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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

Familiar face Brady Rush was injected into the All Blacks Sevens’ squad in Dickson’s place and proved to be the hero during a thriller against Samoa in Dubai. But Dickson’s return in Perth was a major boost to a team that has struggled so far in 2023/24.

Dickson, 34, was smiling a fair bit as the sevens star began to reflect on what it meant to be back in black following another lengthy stint on the sidelines with an injury.

“It’s always special getting the honour to play for New Zealand and wear this All Blacks Sevens jersey,” Dickson told RugbyPass in Perth.

“Very disappointing getting ruled out just before Cape Town but it wasn’t meant to be. Lucky enough to get the nod (in Perth).


“Obviously it didn’t go our way. We weren’t good enough probably early on in the tournament but we showed some good fight in a lot of those games and a lot of extra times.”

Dickson has an unfortunate history of injuries. The New Zealand AFL representative missed last year’s Hong Kong Sevens in March with a calf injury, and he missed the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 with a hamstring strain.


But the veteran, who debuted for the All Blacks Sevens in Dubai in 2012, is back in the mix about five months out from the upcoming Paris Olympics from July 24 to 30. It’s a step in the right direction – this team needs some experience to fix their woes.

New Zealand battled it out for third place in Dubai, but that’s as good as it’s been for them this season. They were fortunate to make the Cape Town quarter-finals after finishing third in their pool behind arch-rivals Australia and Canada.


But their season went from bad to worse in Perth. New Zealand will be desperate to turn their form around when they take the field in Vancouver at the end of this month.

“It’s probably the amount of rugby that we’ve played,” Dickson explained after beating Samoa in the ninth-place playoff.

“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.”

Next up on the SVNS Series is an event in Vancouver from February 23 to 25. Those interested in watching some of the world’s best rugby while enjoying the best party in town can get tickets HERE.


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1 Comment
Pecos 140 days ago

Dickson 34, Curry 35 & Mikkelson 37, need to relish their way into retirement NOW so that the AB7s can have a greater chance of relishing wins at Madrid & Paris.

They have old legs, are predictable, are off the fast sustained pace demanded in 7s, & are blocking faster, younger, stronger, fitter, more dynamic players, from spots. Their rate of onfield recovery also lags & they are easily run down should a break ensue.. In sum, they drag the team down to their labourious level on attack & force others to work harder on D.

Revealingly, Dylan Collier 32 & Sione Molia 31 led the AB7s splendidly in winning the 2023 Series Championship last season, mostly in the absence of Dickson, Curry &/or Mikkelson. Enough said.

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