Arthritic infection sidelines Sevens player Joe Webber

By Ruth Smith

Joe Webber has re-signed a deal with the All Black Sevens.  The news comes as a welcome change as Webber reenters the fold of the national side after an injury absence.

Webber, along with Scott Curry and Tim Mikkelson, will form the core of the All Black Sevens says Coach Clark Laidlaw, as the trifecta confirm their return right through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“It's hugely exciting for us to start locking in some of the core group that'll take us through to the next couple of years.  Scott, Tim and Joe are quality Sevens players and guys who I've got a lot of faith in to keep getting better over the next couple of years which is really crucial to us," says Laidlaw.

Playmaker Webber was forced to withdraw from the gold medalling Commonwealth Games team when he contracted an arthritic infection that has seen him miss out on some of the key events of the season.

“I just got this bad virus when we went to Las Vegas.  It's just the type of arthritis where your immune system overreacts.  So it's called reactive arthritis and it attacks your joints.  It just takes its time.  There's no real medicine that can fix it straight away," Webber explains.

Although he hasn't been fully cleared, Coach Laidlaw is confident that Webber will be back on the field next season.

“All signs are that he's on the improve and there's been players that had it in the past who have had similar issues but once they got on top of the medication after a couple of months they start coming right.  We don't see that as any different to any any injury or illness.  We're pretty confident he'll be fit and available for the start of pre-season,” says Laidlaw.

The Sevens season will kick off in November with the Oceania Sevens right before the first leg of the World Series in Dubai.