For the first time in IRB Sevens tournament history a national Women's Sevens team staged an invitational match at the Wellington Sevens, playing a local selection team. The New Zealand Women’s Sevens were pushed all the way, eventually coming from behind in the dying stages to snatch a 15-14 victory.
The Wellington invitational team which comprised members of the wider New Zealand Women’s Sevens squad raced to a 10 nil lead.
Former Fielding High School legend (who scored 515 points in a single season) Hayley Hutana, part of the 19 players contracted but not one of the 12 selected for the USA and Brazil legs, put in a dynamic display that further exemplifies the depth developing in the Women's Sevens game in New Zealand.
The 18-year-old kicked two conversions after tries to Kat Simpkins and Ariana Hira Herangi, which put the locals on the verge of a remarkable win.
But the New Zealand Women’s Sevens side struck back with tries to Taranaki and New Plymouth Girls' High School's Michaela Blyde, one of two faces selected in Horan's squad, and vice-captain Sarah Goss.
Then in the game’s dying seconds, a typically decisive move from Selica Winiata saw her break the determined defences of the invitational side to score in the corner to grab the win.
Captain Huriana Manuel and the team depart for the Atlanta Sevens on Monday, the second leg in the series. The team then go on to play in the first World Series tournament in Brazil, being hosted in Sao Paulo.