Three new caps in team for Atlanta Sevens
The New Zealand Women’s Sevens team for the Atlanta Sevens (8-9 April) features three players on debut.
Auckland Storm centre Theresa Fitzpatrick, who was a surprise call-up to the squad last week, will pull on the sevens black jersey for the first time along with new squad members Terina Te Tamaki and Stacey Waaka. Waaka was a member of the New Zealand Development Team that took part in the Central Coast Sevens last October and is also a Black Fern.
The team is:
Michaela Blyde (Taranaki)
Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty)
Theresa Fitzpatrick* (Auckland)
Sarah Goss (captain) (Manawatu)
Shiray Tane (Hawke’s Bay)
Terina Te Tamaki* (Waikato)
Ruby Tui (Canterbury)
Stacey Waaka* (Waikato)
Katarina Whata-Simpkins (Wellington)
Niall Williams (Auckland)
Selica Winiata (Manawatu)
Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau)
Coach Sean Horan congratulated the debutants.
“We’re really pleased with how quickly Theresa has embraced our team culture and I’m sure she’ll equip herself well this weekend. Likewise, Terina and Stacey have been with us for some time now and fully deserve their chance to show us what they can bring to the game under the pressure of a tournament.”
He said injecting new blood into the team was all part and parcel of strengthening the squad ahead of the Olympics.
“We want to do well in Atlanta and we also know we have to give other players the chance to put their hands up for the Olympics. This team gives us a great blend of experience and exciting new talent. That will really add to our understanding of the squad’s capabilities.
“We aim to win in August and that means trying new combinations and tactics over the next three tournaments so that come Rio we’ve given ourselves every chance of winning.”
New Zealand finished third at the recent Sao Paulo Sevens and is second equal with Canada in the series, behind Australia. The team has been drawn in Pool C at Atlanta and will play USA, Japan and Spain.
“We’ve travelled well and settled into our routines quickly here so we’re really excited about the challenges ahead over the next two tournaments,” said Horan.
Atlanta match schedule
(Atlanta is 16 hours behind NZT)
Friday 8 April (NZT Saturday 9 April)
1358 (0558); v Japan
1642 (0842); v Spain
1926 (1126); v USA
Saturday 9 April
Watch Atlanta Sevens finals live on SKY Sport 2
Sunday 10 April, from 9.10am