Olympic Sevens Preview: Women

Getty Images     05 Aug 2016     Getty Images

Despite being the reigning world champions, New Zealand will not go into the Olympics as favourites with 2016 Women’s World Sevens Series champions Australia claiming that tag. 


The first hurdle for New Zealand comes in pool play against France, Spain and Kenya before the tournament moves into a knockout round to decide who will stand on a historic podium at Deodoro Stadium in Rio.

Each day's action is split into two sessions with six matches involving all 12 teams taking place during each session of the early stages. The final session on day three will include four matches and the medal ceremony as the identity of rugby's first Olympic champions for 92 years will finally be known.

Provided New Zealand can get through pool play unscathed, the biggest threats will come from Australia, Great Britain and Canada in the knockout stages. Australia were a class above during the World Series, winning three out of the five tournaments played. Canada and England were the two other teams to win a tournament and with England making up the bulk of the Great Britain’s squad, they will be a sure to be a factor once the tournament reaches its knockout stage.


One of the key’s to New Zealand’s success will be the form of try-scoring dynamo Portia Woodman. The Counties Manukau flyer has scored more tries than any other player on the World Series with 119 and says that her formula for success doesn’t change at the Olympics: “All I try do is get the ball and run like heck so you might see more of that this weekend” she said. 
“What impresses me with this side is the balance. We have got six players from the World Cup winning side in 2013. They have got better since then and really grown as rugby players. We’ve also got some great success stories with a couple of young players who weren’t contracted at the end of last year. They bring that youthful enthusiasm and energy to the squad. We are humbled and honoured to be at the Olympics. We are also energised and ready for the Games to begin.”

Shakira Baker(Waikato)
Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty)
Gayle Broughton (Taranaki)
Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland)
Sarah Goss (captain) (Manawatu)
Kayla McAlister (Auckland)
Huriana Manuel (Auckland)
Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland)
Terina Te Tamaki (Waikato)
Ruby Tui (Canterbury)
Niall Williams (Auckland)
Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau)

Travelling reserves: Michaela Blyde (Taranaki), Shiray Tane (Hawke’s Bay).

Pool A: Australia, USA, Fiji, Colombia
Pool B: New Zealand, France, Spain, Kenya
Pool C: Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, Japan


Game one v Kenya at 2.30am Sunday 7 August NZT (11.30am Saturday 6 August local time)
Game two v Spain at 7.30am Sunday 7 August NZT (4.30pm Saturday 6 August local time)
Game three v France at 2.30am Monday 8 August NZT (11.30am Sunday 7 August local time)

Finals TBC on Tuesday 9 August NZT

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