NZ Women's Sevens team named for Fiji

Getty Images     21 Jul 2012     Getty Images

The team is:
Shakira Baker
Kendra Cocksedge
Moana Forbes
Sarah Goss (vc)
Charlene Halapua
Linda Itunu
Huriana Manuel (c)
Kayla McAlister
Tyla Nathan-Wong
Hazel Tubic
Ruby Tui
Portia Woodman
Counties Manukau

The 12 women - a mix of seasoned players and athletes new to the game - include Mystics netballers Portia Woodman and Kayla McAlister, who is also the sister of former All Black Luke McAlister. The side also includes handy experience with World Cup Champion Black Ferns Linda Itunu, Kendra Cocksedge and Huriana Manuel as well as recent Black Ferns Shakira Baker and Hazel Tubic.

The team is the first to be selected on the back of a nationwide Go4Gold recruitment programme to encourage women to consider playing sevens. The programme is geared towards finding a gold-medal winning women's sevens team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"This is a very exciting time and the women are particularly excited that they will wear the black jersey and represent New Zealand.

"These women have been chosen from a wider development group of about 50. We thought it was important to have a mix of experienced players and young emerging talent to ensure we can build a successful team," Horan said.

More than 1000 women and girls registered with the Go4Gold programme and the regional tournaments in August will provide more opportunities for women to showcase their talent.

The Oceania Women's Sevens Championship runs on 3 and 4 August and will serve as a Rugby World Cup 2013 qualifier for the Pacific nations taking part. New Zealand and Australia are participating in the tournament, but have already qualified.