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‘We thrive on that’: All Blacks Sevens grind out tough win in Dubai

By Finn Morton
Scott Curry of New Zealand runs with the ball to score a try against Canada during the HSBC SVNS rugby tournament on December 2, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Martin Dokoupil/Getty Images)

Much like their countrywomen earlier on Saturday morning, the All Blacks Sevens had to do it the hard way as the defending world champions opened their new SVNS season with a thrilling win.

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Veteran Scott Curry opened the scoring in just the first minute for the New Zealanders, but it was far from smooth sailing as a red-hot Canada outfit took control at Dubai’s The Sevens Stadium.

Josiah Morra, Jake Thiel and Matt Oworu all crossed for decisive scores as the North American underdogs mounted a genuine challenge against their more fancied opponents.

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But when the going got tough, the All Blacks Sevens delivered under pressure with Curry and Fehi Fineanganofo scoring a try each inside the final two minutes.

That completed a memorable comeback for the New Zealanders who registered a hard-earned 26-21 victory to kick off their 2023/24 SVNS campaign.

“Yeah it was tough. It was tit for tat… it was back and forth the whole game really, we had to grind it out,” Scott Curry told RugbyPass. “Proud of our fight till the end.

“Canada are a good side, we’ve got to respect them and the work that they did. We probably didn’t execute well on attack.

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“When you can’t hold onto that ball for long phases and you turn it over then you’re stuck on D for a while.”

Playing in the esteemed black jersey is an honour like no other in New Zealand. It’s the opportunity to represent a nation that expects excellence, and there’s plenty of pressure that comes with that.

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Both the New Zealand men’s and women’s teams enter the new SVNS season as defending world champions, but their successes and history-making campaigns and in the past now.

With a new season underway, the All Blacks Sevens might just be the team to beat on the men’s side of the draw as the other 11 teams fight to experience the feeling of what it means to be on top of the rugby SVNS world.

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“There’s always pressure when you put the jersey. It’s a pressure that we put on ourselves and the New Zealand public expects us to win,” Curry added.

“There is pressure all the time and we thrive on that, we love that. We love those moments when we’re down with a minute to go (and) we’ve got to find a way.

“We always embrace it. Everyone’s coming for everyone. 12 teams on the circuit now.

“There’s no easy games anymore and to make those quarterfinals is going to be tough every weekend.

“We’ll use the old cliché, we’ll take it one step at a time.”

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Eabn 6 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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