All Blacks Sevens learning fast: DJ Forbes

Reinstated New Zealand captain DJ Forbes can see a silver lining in the injury predicament facing his side heading into the second round of the sevens world series in Cape Town.

A vastly inexperienced All Blacks Sevens squad face pool games against France, Canada and Samoa on Saturday and will then hope to advance deeper on day two than their fourth placing in the series-opener at Dubai last week.

Five players from that tournament have returned home injured, including new captain Scott Curry with a dislocated shoulder.

As well as whistling up replacements, coach Gordon Tietjens has handed the skipper’s armband back to long-serving former captain Forbes.

The hard-working forward had stood down as captain this year to concentrate on his form and earning Olympic selection.

Instead the veteran of 76 world series tournaments must inspire a group featuring three debutants – Teddy Stanaway, Max Pearson and Antonio Kirikiri.

Forbes says the tough second day in Dubai, in which his team played with only one available substitute, had provided some valuable lessons.

“The only way you are going to get good at sevens is to experience the tough tournaments,” he said.

“As hard as it was, it was a good test for the young guys, and us old horses as well. With the amount of men we had left standing, we still did some really good things.”

Forbes says the biggest area they can improve from Dubai is winning and retaining possession, having been forced to defend too much because of those shortcomings.

ALL BLACKS SEVENS: DJ Forbes (capt), Dylan Collier, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, Antonio Kirikiri, Declan O’Donnell, Max Pearson, Augustine Pulu, Teddy Stanaway, Isaac Te Tamaki, Beaudein Waaka, Joe Webber.

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