High Performance group for NZ Women's Sevens announced     22 Feb 2013

The squad - an exciting mix of experienced Black Ferns and young and genuine talent - will assemble for an assessment camp at the Waiouru Military Training Facility this weekend.

"This Squad is the result of a very successful Go for Gold recruitment programme which has had fantastic support from Provincial Unions around the country," Horan said.

The High Performance Squad will form the core group for selection to the teams for the remaining two IRB Women's Sevens World Series tournaments in China (March) and the Netherlands (May) and the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow in June.

The 2013 New Zealand Women's Sevens High Performance Squad is:

Linda Itunu
Huriana Manuel
Kayla McAlister
Tyla Nathan-Wong
Portia Woodman
Olivia Bird
Alexis Tapsell
Ruby Tui
Hazel Tubic
Renee Wickliffe
Shakira Baker
Sarah Goss
Hayley Hutana
Kristina Sue
Selica Winiata
Amanda Rasch
Kelly Brazier
Halie Hurring
Michaela Blyde
Gayle Broughton
Lauren Burgess
Francea Hansen
Ariana Hira-Herangi
Honey Hireme
Carla Hohepa
Shiray Tane

With an eye on the goal for Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Horan has included young talent in 16-year-olds Gayle Broughton and Michaela Blyde from Taranaki, Hayley Hutana from Manawatu and Ariana Hira-Herangi of Waikato and 17-year-old Shiray Tane of Waikato.

The squad also boasts experience in 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament top points scorer Selica Winiata and top try scorer Carla Hohepa, as well as RWC Sevens 2009 teammates Linda Itunu, Huriana Manuel, and Renee Wickliffe. All five have played for the Black Ferns along with Shakira Baker, Kelly Brazier, Hailie Hurring, and Hazel Tubic.

"We have seen Sevens grow in popularity in New Zealand through our work with the provincial unions and we believe we have uncovered some fantastic new talent.

"This squad will be the focus of our training programmes as we build to the last two tournaments of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series and the RWC Sevens in Moscow.

"This weekend camp is the first step to the next phase for these women. The training and preparation will have greater intensify and the players will be asked to step up and work harder.

"I congratulate all those players as their commitment and hard work has been recognised with selection. For the many players that have missed out on selection, we are continuing to work with provincial unions to ensure these players keep knocking on the door for a chance at inclusion," Horan said.