All Black Sevens star Scott Curry says it’s refreshing to get a chance to check out some AIMS Games action before getting back into the hard graft of preparation for the new World Rugby Sevens Series in December.
The Papamoa local was at Blake Park yesterday, along with Black Ferns stars Ruby Tui and Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, to show off the World Cups the two teams won in an extremely successful 2018 season.
He wishes he could have got into the game at the same age as the AIMS players.
“It’s beautiful here, a good place to have the AIMS Games and it looks like there’s some awesome sevens being played so it’s good to be here.
“AIMS wasn’t around when I was younger. I wish it was, it’s an awesome event. I just grew up playing 15-a-side so for these kids to be playing sevens at this age is awesome.”
It was only when he was at university and was spotted by legendary sevens mentor Sir Gordon Tietjens the short-handed game became a thing for him.
“Titch saw me play and said I could be an all right sevens player so I gave it a crack and went from there.”
He’s been blown away by the interest from the kids at AIMS, and hopes the chance for them to see the cups in the flesh will be an inspiration.
“Yeah it’s been really good, heaps of kids coming up for photos as seeing the cups live I guess is pretty cool and pretty special for them and hopefully it can inspire them to play sevens for New Zealand one day.”
When he gets a chance, he says, he’s got a favourite school he’s keeping an eye on.
“I live right next to Papamoa College so I’m definitely following them throughout the week.”
The Rotorua-born player had a season in the then ITM Cup for Manawatu in 2012 but has been a devotee of the sevens game ever since, and says while 15s is still in the background that’s the way it’s likely to stay for the foreseeable future.
“It’s definitely still there but sevens is what I’m good at and going forward I want to put my hand up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“I think playing sevens fulltime is my best chance of making that team so I definitely want to do that for the next couple of years.”
The team’s period of inactivity has been good, he says, but he’s ready to get back into action.
“This is our last week off and then we’re back into it on Monday, getting ready for Dubai in December which is our first tournament of the year. So looking forward to that. It’s a wee way off yet but I’m ready to get back into it after some good time off.”
To win two major trophies in their first year with new coach Clark Laidlaw at the helm was a huge bonus, he says.
“Clark’s been really good. Obviously he’s only come on about a year now so be able to win two pinnacle events in our first year with a gold at the Com Games and the World Cup at the end of the season was massive for us. Those were our two key goals for the year so to be able to tick those off has been really good.”
With those two trophies in the cabinet and the holy grail of the Olympics still a couple of years away the emphasis goes firmly back on the World Series, Scott says.
“Last year was all about winning the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup but this year is going to be about winning the World Series, because this is qualification year for the Olympics.
“It’s all about consistency this year so that’ll be the aim, to win the World Series.”