The 2016 Women’s Sevens Series kicks off tomorrow with 24 promising young players and contracted New Zealand Women’s Sevens players getting valuable game time against international opposition.
Two New Zealand teams will take on the Cook Islands and Samoa national teams in a series which takes place over two weekends in Auckland and Pukekohe this month.
“The series is about giving our next crop of players from the Sevens Development Squad valuable international sevens experience as we build depth in our playing pool,” said New Zealand Women’s Sevens Coach Sean Horan.
“We’ll also give some of our contracted players time on the field which will really help our preparations for Rio. With one international tournament to go in France, coupled with this series, we’ll gain some valuable insights as we head towards making our final selections for the New Zealand Olympic Sevens squad in June.
“This series is also about the long term game as well – there’s no doubt international sevens is getting more competitive so we need to use every opportunity to develop the skills of our players for the 2020 Olympics as well,” he said.
New Zealand Rugby High Performance Sevens Manager Tony Philp said the series played a valuable part in helping to grow sevens.
“Sevens is a fast growing sport so this series, coupled with the provincial sevens tournaments later this year and the National Sevens in January, is all part of the wider strategy of making sevens an appealing option for athletes.”
Samoa and the Cook Islands have not qualified for the Rio Games. They have one more opportunity at the last Olympic Games qualifier in Dublin in June where the final spot is up for grabs.
“We’re really happy to be supporting Oceania rugby by giving these two teams some quality game time as they prepare for the June play-off which will also be great for the development of the sevens game in this part of the world,” said Philp.
2016 Women’s Sevens Series – details
7,8 May – Waitemata Rugby Club, 96 Swanson Rd, Henderson, Auckland
28,29 May – ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe.
Fans are welcome to attend. This weekend’s games kick off at midday on Saturday and 8.30am on Sunday.
Saturday 7 May
12.00pm-12.18pm NZ 1 v NZ 2
12.20pm-12.38pm Cooks v Samoa
1.30pm-1.48pm NZ 1 v Samoa
1.50pm-2.08pm NZ 2 v Cooks
3.00pm-3.18pm NZ 2 v Samoa
3.20pm-3.38pm NZ 1 v Cooks
Sunday 8 May
8.30am-8.48am NZ 1 v NZ 2
8.50am-9.08am Cooks v Samoa
10.00am-10.18am NZ 2 v Samoa
10.20am-10.38am NZ 1 v Cooks
11.30am-11.48am NZ 1 v Samoa
11.50am-12.08pm NZ 2 v Cooks