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Tyla Nathan-Wong to lead Black Ferns Sevens in closing tournaments of 2019

Tyla Nathan-Wong to lead Black Ferns Sevens in closing tournaments of 2019

Tyla Nathan-Wong will take on the captain’s duties for the Black Ferns Sevens in their closing two tournaments of 2019 after Sarah Hirini was ruled out with a leg injury.

With experienced speedsters Portia Woodman and Michaela Blyde already out for the Dubai and Cape Town legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Hirini becomes the third injury blow for the squad early in the Series.

The Black Ferns Sevens team is;

Shakira Baker Waikato
Gayle Broughton Taranaki
Kelly Brazier Bay of Plenty
Theresa Fitzpatrick Auckland
Huia Harding Waikato
Shiray Kaka Waikato
Tyla Nathan-Wong Auckland
Risi Pouri-Lane Tasman
Alena Saili Southland
Montessa Tairakena Waikato
Ruby Tui Bay of Plenty
Stacey Waaka Waikato
Niall Williams Auckland
Tenika Willison Waikato

Co-Coach Cory Sweeney said Hirini is undoubtedly a loss to the team but the strong group of leaders within the selected squad who can step up in her absence.

“Sarah would have potentially been ready for Cape Town but there is no point risking re-injury when we have our biggest season ever ahead of us; this way she can rehab and be in the best possible shape going into the new year.”

Shiray Kaka is named for her first tournament since 2018 as an experienced player on the wing.

“Shiray has not only experience on the World Series but is a proven performer at that level. She’s had some injury setbacks but she has earnt her spot in this group. There is also another opportunity for Montessa after her debut in Colorado. We saw glimpses of her potential and this will be another step in her development.

The Black Ferns Sevens will play in their first back-to-back tournaments on the World Series, the only previous time they have played two full events in a row was the Commonwealth Games followed by the Kitakyushu Sevens in 2018.

“We know it will be different for us, so the key is being able to adapt. We’ve got some knowledge from the men as to how they operate in this space and made that relevant to our planning. The over-riding feeling is excitement though, we often can have big gaps between tournaments so the game time, heading to a new country and it being a joint tournament are all exciting factors,’ said Sweeney.

The team depart for the UAE on Wednesday and will spend some time training in Abu Dhabi before the Dubai tournament. After the season opener they travel to South Africa for the Cape Town leg of the Series.

2019/2020 Black Ferns schedule
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 5-6 October, Glendale – THIRD PLACE
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 5-7 December, Dubai
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 13-15 December, Cape Town
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 25-26 January, Hamilton
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-2 February, Sydney
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 3-5 April, Hong Kong
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-3 May, Langford
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 30-31 May, Paris
2020 Tokyo Olympics, 30 July – 1 August, Tokyo

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