The Black Ferns Sevens have named one debutant in their squad to travel to the Glendale Sevens in Colorado, USA this weekend.
19-year-old Montessa Tairakena is in line to make her Black Ferns Sevens debut, a year on from winning a sevens gold at the Youth Olympic Games.
The Black Ferns Sevens squad is;
|Kelly Brazier||Bay of Plenty|
|Michaela Blyde||Bay of Plenty|
|Sarah Hirini - captain||Manawatu|
|Terina Te Tamaki||Waikato|
|Ruby Tui||Bay of Plenty|
The Black Ferns Sevens coaches start the season with an almost fully fit squad of players to pick from, with regular starters Tyla Nathan-Wong (unavailable for selection) and Portia Woodman (injured) among a small number of players out of contention for this first tournament.
Co-coach Cory Sweeney said Tairakena’s selection speaks to her improvement since joining the squad after graduating from Hamilton Girls High School last year.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Montessa. She has really impressed us in training over the preseason and everyone is looking forward to seeing what she can achieve on the world stage. She has genuine x-factor and massive potential,” said Sweeney.
Stacey Waaka returns from a hand injury that sidelined her for the last two tournaments of the 2018/19 season, as does Gayle Broughton who missed the last three events last season.
“Both Stacey and Gayle have a lot of World Series experience and having them back in the mix adds a lot to the team. They are the type of players that have the ability to light things up on the field and they are both raring to go,” said Sweeney.
Captain Sarah Hirini and senior players Ruby Tui and Shakira Baker played in every tournament last season, with Hirini and Tui taking the field in every match. Their experience along with Kelly Brazier and Niall Williams will set the team in good stead.
Pool play will see the Black Ferns Sevens up against Japan, Russia and England.
2019/2020 Black Ferns schedule
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 5-6 October, Glendale
Oceania Sevens, 10-11 November, Fiji
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 5-7 December, Dubai
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 13-15 December, Cape Town
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 25-26 January, Hamilton
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-2 February, Sydney
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 3-5 April, Hong Kong
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-3 May, Langford
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 30-31 May, Paris
2020 Tokyo Olympics, 30 July – 1 August, Tokyo