Creating sevens development programme key according to new NZ Sevens assistant

Junior Tomasi Cama is now the assistant coach of the New Zealand Sevens team.
Chris Hyde

Junior Tomasi Cama is now the assistant coach of the New Zealand Sevens team.

New Zealand rugby may be well known for its depth, but Tomasi Cama believes their recent struggles on the Sevens World Series exposed their lack of players in the abbreviated form of the game.

Cama, who was confirmed as new coach Clark Laidlaw's assistant on Tuesday, said they needed to establish a development group focused on sevens.

He believed their depth was exposed in the 2016-17 campaign where they finish fourth overall and failed to reach a final in 10 tournaments.

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"For us it shows the [lack of] depth that we have in New Zealand. We do not have a lot of depth in our sevens programme and we don't really have a development programme as well so when we get injuries to our top players, we are struggling to look for players from the second tier.

"We have to go find those players from club rugby. The other top eight [nations] in the world sevens series, they do have development team and that makes it much easier.

"We have to come up with a plan. It is something that is in progress at the moment. Once we get it going it will be be a big boost looking at players coming in with the next Olympics three years away."

The veteran of 63 World Series tournaments will play a key role with the team again this season now that his role as assistant has been locked in.

He had held that role in an interim capacity under interim coach Scott Waldrom as they waited for Laidlaw to finish his commitments with London Irish.

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But now with Laidlaw on deck, Waldrom has been let go and Cama has ditched his performance analysis role to take on a more hands on job.

"The role that I had before is all about the analyst stuff; Walking the players through the game footage and coding trainings and games. Now in the assistant coach role it is a bit more stuff on the ground," he said.

And working alongside Laidlaw will be nothing new for Cama.

"He was our analyst guy back when I was playing, I think it was 2007 and 2008 so I know him quite well since then. We used to look at the game and share ideas on how we wanted to play back then. Rugby-wise we are on the same page in what we are trying to do."

One of the keys for Laidlaw and Cama will be developing young playmaker Vilimoni Koroi, who made his debut for the squad this year.

"We was the find of the season for us. He is obviously young so we do not want to overload him and over work him at training," he said.

"We just want to let him play. He has got a lot of talent which suits in the sevens game. He is signed up with Otago so it is just about getting him accurate feedback on his game and what he needs to work on and hopefully he will get better moving forward."

The 2017-18 World Series gets under with the Dubai Sevens on December 1.

 

 - Stuff

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