Black Ferns Sevens' to begin World Series defence in Spain

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The 2021-22 season series opened with two tournaments in Dubai. In New Zealand's absence, Australia won both. 


New Zealand will start their campaign in the third tournament on January 21-23 in Malaga, where they are in Pool B with Fiji, who finished second at both the Dubai tournaments and the United States and Canada.


New Zealand last won an HSBC tournament in February 2020 when they claimed the Sydney leg of the series before Covid-19 impacted world sport.


However, in June this year, they warmed up for the Olympic Games by winning the Oceania 2021 title.


But in their absence in Dubai, Australia took a shot of confidence from their wins, the first time they had achieved consecutive wins at the start of a series.


Top Australia player Charlotte Caslick, one of the survivors from the Australian team who won the first Olympic Sevens title in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, said she was looking forward to New Zealand's participation in Malaga.



"We have a bit of a new-look side, and I think those girls really stepped up and did a great job," she said.


"We had great energy throughout the week, and I think that led onto the field. That was great within itself but for me, not having New Zealand there… I want to beat New Zealand, so I guess it's great to get back on the winning side. You learn a lot from it.


"Hopefully, it gives us confidence by the time New Zealand are back, and we can rip into them," Caslick said.


Australia's men have also had a shot of confidence from their first two rounds and will be looking to use that when meeting the All Blacks Sevens in their pool in Malaga.


South Africa won the first two tournaments while Australia finished fifth in the first tournament before losing the second final 7-10.


New Zealand, who were the series champions in 2020, and Australia are in Pool B with Ireland and Japan.


South Africa faced issues in completing their second win in Dubai as the onset of the Omicron Covid variant saw international flights closed, meaning they could not make injury replacements. That left them with only 11 players for the second series.



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