Cross Coders: All Blacks 7’s star credits AFL for kickstarting Rugby career

A number of New Zealand sporting stars have used the skills that they have learnt playing AFL to propel them to greater heights.


Sam Dickson has played 258 games for the All Black Seven’s side and is one of only 6 players to notch up 50 tournaments, but it was at an AFL testing combine in Wellington where he was spotted by former coach Gordan Tietjens.

After being introduced to the game by a friend in 2010, Sam first represented New Zealand in AFL when he ran out onto Westpac Stadium in 2011 against the AFL Academy.

A few months later, he found himself travelling to Melbourne as part of the 2011 International Cup side where the NZ side finished in third place.

“I played a few games, learned the rules and just got better and better. All of a sudden i was playing for New Zealand and went to the International Cup in 2011.”

Dickson credits the sport immensely for his development, with Tietjens having been impressed by some of the things he could do in the air.

“To be honest, if I hadn’t played AFL I don’t know if I would have been a professional sevens player, just because of the skills that that taught me – catching above the head and just the fitness you need.”

Dickson is now a key ball winner for the team at kick off, showing great strength and agility, and is relentless on defence.