Black Ferns Sevens name four new players in squad for season opener in Dubai
Four new players have been named in the Black Ferns Sevens squad picked for the opening tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai next week.
The team is:
- Ruby Tui
- Shakira Baker
- Jordon Webber
- Niall Williams
- Sarah Goss (captain)
- Michaela Blyde
- Tyla Nathan-Wong
- Kelly Brazier
- Tenika Willison*
- Katarina Whata-Simpkins
- Portia Woodman
- Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga*
Travelling reserves are:
- Jess Drummond*
- Danielle Paenga*
Several players were unavailable to play in the opening tournament: Kayla McAlister, Gayle Broughton, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Shiray Tane, Stacey Waaka, Terina Te Tamaki, Lesley Ketu and (retired) Huriana Manuel, Carla Hohepa and Honey Hireme.
Head Coach Allan Bunting said the upcoming Series was about building the foundations for the long-term success of the team.
“2016 has been a good year for the Black Ferns Sevens. We won silver at the Rio Olympics and were runners up in the last World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. The team has a lot to be proud about over the last four years and has helped inspire record numbers of women and girls to take up playing rugby.
“Dubai kicks off our new journey to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. There is a real sense of excitement and we can’t wait to get going.
“Having Sevens introduced as an Olympic sport has changed the game. It means we now operate on a four-year preparation cycle and it has created a new pathway for athletes to become Olympians.
“We are building a player-led culture where everyone enjoys themselves and in turn plays great rugby. Our team focus for Dubai is kaha and whakawhetai -courage and gratitude. We want to front the challenge and learn from what we do and be grateful for the opportunity we have each day and represent our country with pride
“It’s exciting that super-boot Kelly Brazier and World Sevens Series top try scorer Portia Woodman will be joining the squad at the conclusion of the Black Ferns Northern Tour. This highlights the collaboration between the Sevens and Fifteens programmes and the ability for players to move between the two, adding value to both.
“It is great that we are able to give Tenika, Rebekah, Jess and Danielle exposure to international experience in Dubai. Building to a pinnacle event like the Olympics requires previous experience in the national team environment and feeling comfortable playing on the world stage.”
Dubai Sevens schedule
Thursday 1 December
1:06pm (10:06pm Thursday 1 December NZT) v Ireland
4:02pm (1.02am Friday 2 December NZT) v Fiji
6:37pm (3.37am Friday 2 December NZT) v France
Friday 2 December – Finals Day
World Rugby HSBC Women’s Sevens Series tournaments
Watch Dubai Sevens on SKY Sport
Coverage of day 2 from Dubai will be broadcast on SKY Sport 2 from 1.00am NZT, Saturday 3 December.
HSBC 2016-2017 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series
Dubai: 1-2 December, 2016
Sydney: – 3-4 February, 2017
Kitakyushu, Japan: 23-24 April, 2017
Langford, Canada: 27-28 April, 2017
Clermont-Ferrand, France: 24-25 June, 2017