SINGAPORE - It has been a trying season for the All Blacks Sevens so far, as the team is still trying to recalibrate, and find a winning combination.
The New Zealanders, who have yet to reach a cup final throughout the seven legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series so far, are trying to adjust to working under a new coach, the addition of new players and the return of more experienced players who have been injured, said loose forward Iopu Iopu-Aso.
"Collectively, as a group, we've found it hard," said Iopu-Aso on the season so far, during a media event with Air New Zealand on Wednesday (April 12).
"The way the draw has gone, we've managed to get a couple of the top teams in the quarter finals and semi finals, and we didn't manage to execute our game plan the way we wanted to. That's just the way the cookie crumbles."
The Kiwis are currently fourth on the table with 97 points.
At present, South Africa is top of the table with 145 points, followed by Fiji and England.
And the team is aware that expectations remain high for the All Blacks Sevens to perform. "It's lingering at the back of our minds all the time," said Iopu-Aso.
"However, it's pretty tough now. Now every country is sort of on our level now, and it's a lot of pressure... But we're trying to play our hearts out, not just for our jersey, but for our family and friends supporting us."
The All Blacks Sevens will be playing against Wales, Scotland and USA this week at the National Stadium - teams that will put up "tough" competition, added Iopu-Aso.
But he added that the team is keeping its spirits up and raring to go.
"There's nothing really in our game plan, but just to come out here and give everything... The boys are firing, they're ready to go, and I think we really want this one just as every other one."