Black Ferns Sevens looking to follow up from Commonwealth Games gold
On the back of a successful Commonwealth Games campaign, Black Ferns Sevens Coach Allan Bunting has named the Black Ferns Sevens team to take on the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens in Japan this weekend.
The team is (*denote debut):
1. Huia Harding* (Waikato)
2. Shakira Baker (Waikato)
3. Stacey Waaka (Waikato)
4. Niall Williams (Auckland)
5. Sarah Goss (Manawatu) – captain
6. Michaela Blyde (Bay of Plenty)
7. Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland)
8. Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty)
9. Gayle Broughton (Taranaki)
10. Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland)
11. Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau)
12. Tenika Willison (Waikato)
There is only one change to the squad from the Commonwealth Games with Waikato’s Huia Harding set to make her Black Ferns Sevens debut.
“There is a lot of experience in this team and we have Huia coming in which is a great opportunity for her and we are excited about that.
“She is one of the fittest in our squad and is a smart and skilful player so she will add something for us this week.”
Bunting said the excitement of winning a dramatic Commonwealth Games gold medal has the team energised.
“I am absolutely stoked for the players and what they have done for both New Zealand Rugby and women’s rugby. But we’re not done, we won a gold medal which is great, but we’ve got to refocus.
“We’ve achieved the first part of our goal, and we still have a lot of improvement to make.”
A tough pool will see the Black Ferns Sevens come up against Japan, USA and France on day one.
“They are three teams that always test us.
“It’s a great challenge coming off a gold medal because any one of these teams could knock us off and they have done in the past. We are totally focused and need to deliver game by game,” said Bunting.
HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens
Saturday 21 April
3.20pm NZT v Japan
6.04pm NZT v USA
8.48pm NZT v France
Sunday 22 April – Finals Day
Black Ferns Sevens 2017-2018 schedule
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 30 November-1 December, Dubai – Fifth place
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 26-28 January, Sydney – Runners-up
Commonwealth Games, 13-15 April, Gold Coast – WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 22-22 April, Kitakyushu
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 12-13 May, Langford
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 8-10 June, Paris
Rugby World Cup Sevens, 20-22 July, San Francisco