January 23, 2017 6:37 am

Koroi to make All Blacks 7s debut in Wellington

Former Whanganui High School sevens standout Vilimoni Koroi is the surprise selection in the New Zealand team to play the HSHC Wellington Sevens this weekend.

Koroi, 18, played Condor Sevens and 1st XV rugby for WHS before transferring to Feilding Ag High School, where he was selected for the NZ Secondary Schools team last year.

The teenager signed a professional contract with the Otago Rugby Football Union and had just moved south, not even playing in the recent Bayleys National Sevens tournament.

He is one of four newcomers named last week to the team under coach Scott Waldrom, alongside Tasman players Trael Joass, Andrew Knewstubb and Tone Ng Shiu.

“This is a team based on form, and it shows that exciting talent coming through can put their hand up and be successful with a national selection,” said Waldrom.

“It’s exciting to put Trael, Andrew, Vilimoni and Tone into the All Blacks Sevens environment in Wellington.

“Our focus when we go into camp next Monday is to bring the new guys up to speed with our structures and the team culture.”

Darryl Malcolm was the WHS coach in 2013 when Koroi first made waves at the prestigious Condor Sevens – being chosen in the tournament team and attending a training camp with the NZ Sevens coaching staff.

Malcolm said even then; it was evident Koroi was destined for the national level.

“Certainly, the hierarchy had already been drawn on him in 2013.

“He was one of the outstanding attackers and finishers.

“The [WHS] boys will be stoked to hear that.”

While Koroi moved to the famous rugby school in Feilding Ag, he would still return for cameos in Whanganui club and sevens rugby when possible for the likes of Kaierau and Ngamatapouri.

“He’s had pretty good people around him that have helped him achieve,” said Malcolm.

“That’s what happens when you’re spotted so early in the piece, and he’s done all the right things.”

ORFU general manager Richard Kinley told the Otago Daily Times that Koroi was an exceptionally talented footballer and plenty of unions were after him.

Otago had put an attractive package in front of the Kiwi Fijian, which included tertiary study, so he had decided to head south.

Source – Wanganui Chronicle