All Blacks Sevens announce squad for World Series season

The All Blacks Sevens have confirmed their final squad for the 2019 World Series campaign.

Just a week out from the opening event of the season on home soil in Hamilton, the World Cup winners have named a 20-strong group that will attempt to become the first New Zealand side to win the series title since 2014.

With the Olympics fast approaching, coach Clark Laidlaw says it's critical they begin to build depth within the team.

"We're aiming to qualify for the Olympics this season and if we learnt anything from the first two tournaments, it is important to have a strong squad from 1-20," said Laidlaw.

"It's great to have these final pieces confirmed and this group is excited about what's ahead. We need to be single-minded and treat every tournament like it's a World Cup, because it's only going to take one bad weekend to potentially drop out of qualification contention."

Commonwealth Games gold medallists Sam Dickson and Dylan Collier have both recommitted to the side - Dickson through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Collier for the 2019 season.

A veteran of the team that was knocked out in the quarter-finals in Rio in 2016,  Dickson admitted he had his sights set on gold in Japan next year.

"It's really lit a big fire in me to get back to the next Olympics in Tokyo and give it another good crack," he told Newshub.

"The way we're building this year - as well as over the past year - I'm pretty confident we should be able to do the job."

Laidlaw stressed the value of both players to their cause, both this season and beyond.

"Sam and Dylan have been two of the most consistent players in this team over the past few years, and it's important to have that sort of experience, because in big moments, they have been there and done it," said Laidlaw.

Also re-secured are the services of Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole and Luke Masirewa.

"These players are part of the next generation, guys that hopefully have a long future in the black jersey and we've seen in the past 12 months they have all taken their opportunities."

The All Blacks Sevens squad:

Kurt Baker, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Scott Gregory, Trael Joass, Niko Jones, Andrew Knewstubb, Vilimoni Koroi, Luke Masirewa,  Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Jona Nareki, Amanaki Nicole, Joe Ravouvou, Akuila Rokolisoa, Tone Ng Shiu, Regan Ware, Joe Webber


Join us on Saturday & Sunday for live updates of the Hamilton Sevens.