Late changes to the Wellington's men's and women's sevens squads have not dented their confidence heading into the 2018 Bayleys National Sevens tournament in Rotorua this weekend.
Northern United's former Japan sevens international Leon Ellison will captain the New Zealand Institute of Sport (NZIS) Wellington men's team after regular skipper Hayden Schrijvers suffered a serious knee injury in the team's final warm up tournament at Mt Maunganui.
NZIS Wellington men's sevens coach Sam Rasch said the squad would have Schrijvers in mind as they approached the nationals.
"Hayden's been a massive part of the team this year, so we were all gutted when he injured his knee last week, but that's rugby and I'm sure it will add a bit of extra motivation this weekend.
"We are really lucky to have someone as experience as Leon to step into the captaincy role, so from that point of view it hasn't caused too much disruption."
Wellington is looking to go a step further than last year when they lost 15-12 to eventual champions Counties-Manukau in the Cup semifinal.
Build up results have been mixed with a confidence building win in the regional qualifier before Christmas and two close losses last week at Mt Maunganui where the loss of Schrijvers and Varani Komaisavai (hamstring) hampered their progress.
"The guys have worked really hard and the talent is there, so now it's just a case of executing our game plan, being accurate and playing with plenty of confidence."
Wellington's men have been pooled with Southland, Northland and Tasman.
Sixteen men's teams and 12 women's teams will again compete in the two-day tournament which kicks off at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday.
The NZIS Wellington Women's squad have also had a disrupted build up to the Nationals due to injury.
NZIS Wellington women's sevens coach Simon Culley has had to call in two loan players in Gayle Broughton (Taranaki) and Danielle Paenga (Waikato).
However, the women's team, captained by Kat Simpkins, had a solid warm up tournament at Mt Maunganui where they had strong wins over North Harbour, Canterbury and Bay of Plenty with their only loss to eventual winners Manawatu.
Wellington's women will play Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and North Harbour in pool play at the Nationals.
The Wellington Men's Sevens team and draw the Nationals is as follows:
2 Nash Fiso-Vaelei (Wainuiomata); 3 Losi Filipo (Petone); 4 Esi Komaisavai (Northern United); 5 Leon Ellison (Northern United) (c); 6 Luke Bowden (Northern United); 7 Levi Harmon (Poneke); 8 Paddy Hughes (Wellington); 9 Ryan Setefano (Marist St Pats); 10 Daniel Schrijvers (Upper Hutt Rams); 11 Romu Senileba (Johnsonville); 12 Sione Ma'u (Oriental-Rongotai); 13 Dale Sabbagh (Wellington).
Not considered due to injury: Hayden Schrijvers (Upper Hutt Rams), Verani Komaisavai (Johnsonville)
Men's draw: 11.25am: v Southland; 1.45pm: v Northland; 4.35pm: v Tasman
The Wellington Women's Sevens team and draw for the Nationals is as follows:
1 Jane Bryce; 2 Dhys Faleafaga; 4 Joanah Ngan-Woo; 6 Aimee Sutorius; 7 Marcelle Parkes; 9 Acacia Te Iwimate; 10 Gayle Broughton; 11 Rejieli Uluinavau; 12 Grace Surridge; 13 Monica Tagoai; 14 Danielle Paenga; 15 Katarina Simpkins (c).
Women's draw: 11.05am: v Bay of Plenty; 1.25pm: v Manawatu; 4.55pm: v North Harbour
Nationals Teams and Pools:
Pool A: Counties Manukau, Taranaki, Waikato, Wanganui
Pool B: Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Canterbury, Mid Canterbury
Pool C: Wellington, Tasman, Northland, Southland
Pool D: Manawatu, North Harbour, Hawke's Bay, Otago
Pool A: Waikato, Canterbury, Otago, Poverty Bay
Pool B: Manawatu, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, North Harbour
Pool C: Auckland, Counties Manukau, Hawke's Bay, Southland