Scott Waldrom eyes improvement for NZ men's sevens team ahead as players return
The New Zealand men's sevens team have conceded the fact they won't be claiming the overall title this year.
With a fifth placed finish at the Vancouver tournament at the weekend, the best the New Zealand team can hope for is to finish second - and they still have a lot to do if they want to achieve that.
The team's chances of staying alive in the overall title hunt plummeted when they lost to England 14-12 in the quarterfinals. England went on to win the tournament.
Speaking to Radio Sport, New Zealand coach Scott Waldrom said after good performances on the opening day of the tournament, his side had high hopes for the pressure stages.
"Unfortunately, losing to them by such a slim margin and then having to watch them go on through to the finals was pretty upsetting really.
"We were aiming to catch Fiji and England, and we passed Scotland who were above us going into the Las Vegas tournament.
"We started going up the ladder last week then this week unfortunately all those teams we wanted to catch got past us."
Waldrom said the overall title was now South Africa's to lose, and they would need to "come dead last in the next four tournaments" not to win it.
There were some positives to take out of the weekend's tournament, with Waldrom noting the play of Andrew Knewstubb who was a standout for the New Zealand team on the pitch.
"He showed just what he can do. He was pretty impressive in the second half against Russia and he's getting better and better.
"He's certainly one for the future."
As the standings are after Vancouver, the New Zealand team sit fourth on 84 points - 16 behind Fiji and 19 behind England.
However, Waldrom remained optimistic his side could make a charge for second place.
"The beauty of sevens is anything can happen. If we start getting it right potentially we can get up to second."
The side were set to get a boost in personnel heading into the Hong Kong tournament at the start of April, with Sam Dickson, Lewis Ormond, Teddy Stanaway, Joe Webber and Joe Ravouvou set to join the team.
"It's going to put some pressure on the guys who are here now to work hard so they can maintain their spots."