Black Ferns training squad for 2015/16


Black Ferns training squad for 2015/16

 •    Focus on 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup
•    2016 coaching team confirmed
•    18 Black Ferns named

The campaign to win the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 has begun with the wider Black Ferns training squad named today.

The 56 players will be part of a 12-month high performance training programme for 2016, focussed on strength and conditioning, and building technical and tactical skills.

Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore said he and his coaching and management team are looking ahead to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland in 2017 in naming a wider squad.

“We’ll be announcing our Test programme for 2016 soon and all these women have the opportunity to be part of the Black Ferns.

“We have our eyes on the prize – the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017. The campaign to once again be world champions has begun.  The players are hungry for it and we will make sure the World Cup team represents the best players in New Zealand.

“We’ve just had a very competitive Women’s Provincial Championship season and we want to continue the momentum.”

The squad features 18 current Black Ferns including World Rugby’s 2015 Women’s Rugby Player of the Year, Kendra Cocksedge, and captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili.

The coaching staff has also been confirmed. The Assistant Forwards Coach is once again Wesley Clarke and Grant Keenan has been appointed as Assistant Backs Coach for the first time. Keenan is currently coach of New Zealand Heartland XV and Mid Canterbury. He was also the coach of Auckland B from 2011-2012 and coached professionally in Japan for Toyota from 2007 to 2011.

New Zealand Rugby’s Head of Women’s Rugby Development, Cate Sexton said the experience within the coaching and management team and depth of player talent was indicative of the increased interest and resources for women’s rugby at all levels.

“Naming 56 players from around New Zealand who have a shot at the black jersey shows how much talent is out there. We really want to develop that talent and make sure when we select the squad for our Test series and later the Women’s Rugby World Cup that we have the best of the best.”


Toka Natua – Waikato
Hinewai Pomare – Counties Manukau
Moana Aiatu – Wellington
Luka Connor – Bay of Plenty
Jessie Hansen – Canterbury
Sosoli Talawadua – Waikato
Fiao’o Fa’amausili – Auckland
Te Kura Ngata – Counties Manukau
Rebekah Tufuga – Manawatu
Teresa Te Tamaki – Waikato
Aleisha Nelson – Auckland
Aldora Itunu – Auckland
Katie Mailata – Counties Manukau
Steph Te Ohaere Fox – Canterbury
Elosie Blackwell – Auckland
Charmaine Smith – North Harbour
Sanita Levave – Wellington
Rawinia Everitt – Counties Manukau
Charmaine McMenamin – Auckland
Aroha Savage – Counties Manukau
Charlene Halapua – Auckland
Hana Tapiata – Bay of Plenty
Mikyla Wardlaw – Bay of Plenty
Justine Lavea – Counties Manukau
Sharnita Woodman – Counties Manukau
Lydia Crossman – Auckland
Aimee Sutorius – Wellington
Linda Itunu – Auckland
Angie Sisifa – Otago
Jackie Patea – Wellington


Kendra Cocksedge – Canterbury
Kiritapu Demant – Auckland
Emma Jensen – Auckland
Arihana Marino – Counties Manukau
Ariana Bayler – Waikato
Raquel Anderson – Waikato
Ruahei Demant – Auckland
Lizzie Goulden – Wellington
Victoria Subritzky Nafatali – Counties Manukau
Janna Vaughn –  Manawatu
Shakira Baker – Waikato
Chelsea Alley – North Harbour
Amanda Rasch – Wellington
Onjeurlina Leiataua – Auckland
Theresa Fitzpatrick – Auckland
Georgia Daals – Wellington
Keri Hayden – Manawatu
Greer Muir – Otago
Lucy Anderson – Canterbury
Renee Wickliffe – Counties Manukau
Mele Hufanga – Auckland
Ayesha Leti-Liga – Wellington
Lauren Balsillie – Manawatu
Ana Masters – Waikato
Crystal Mayes – Manawatu
Huia Harding – Waikato




Highlanders look to bright future


Ben Smith and Nasi Manu of the Highlanders hold aloft the Super Rugby trophy during the Super Rugby Final match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders at Westpac Stadium on July 4, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand…

Ben Smith and Nasi Manu of the Highlanders hold aloft the Super Rugby trophy during the Super Rugby Final match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders at Westpac Stadium on July 4, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand…

Highlanders look to bright future

  • Five year licence awarded to new operator
  • A group of primarily South Island private investors – 77 percent stake
  • Local Provincial Unions, New Zealand Rugby – 23 percent stake

Investec Super Rugby champions, the Highlanders, have embarked on a new era with local Provincial Unions and South Island private investors being granted a licence to operate the team until 2020.

The combined group of investors will inject substantial new capital into the 2015 Super Rugby winning team.

The South Island private investor group is headed by Dunedin businessman Matthew Davey, Founder and CEO of ticketing agency Ticket Direct.

Otago, Southland and North Otago Provincial Unions will have a 13 percent stake in the new operator.  New Zealand Rugby (NZR) retains a 10 percent share for the first two years which will further assist putting the side on a secure commercial footing.   The new venture is being underwritten by a guarantee from the Invercargill City Council in exchange for guaranteed Highlanders games in Invercargill.

“The Highlanders are now well placed to face the future with renewed confidence and build on what has been a very successful year on the field,” said NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew.

“The investor group brings considerable commercial experience, particularly in the sports consumer marketing area and they have great knowledge of the business of rugby.  This experience, coupled with strong provincial union support, will really help the Highlanders build a sustainable business and take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.”

New investors excited by future
“For those who love rugby (like our group) it was simply too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Matthew Davey on behalf of the investor group.

“We see this as a good business opportunity, but equally we have a strong emotional attachment to the South and for me in particular, the Highlanders. They’ve been my team from the very early days of Super Rugby  but it’s also fair to say that we’ve been impressed with the work and results that Roger Clark, Jamie Joseph and the previous Highlanders board have achieved, in building the Highlanders up to a point where a group such as ours would be interested.

“We are an experienced, well-resourced, innovative group and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with rugby in the South and it’s certainly our ambition to build on the strong base that New Zealand Rugby has entrusted us with.”

Doug Harvie, chairman of the board of the new operating company said: “Having been involved with Provincial Unions and the Highlanders, I am very pleased with this investment consortium taking the reins for the ensuing years. The commercial acumen they bring is exceptional, and will put the Highlanders in the very best position to build on last year’s success.”

All five Super Rugby teams managed by new operators
Today’s announcement completes the process begun in December 2011 with licences now awarded to operators of all five Investec Super Rugby teams.

“When we embarked on this process we aimed to ensure the foundation for the professional game in this country remained strong and could adapt to future challenges and opportunities,” said Steve Tew. “We are now better equipped to ensure the professional game continues to feed a winning All Blacks team and keeps delivering for fans.”


Key facts Highlanders licence

  • 5 year licence to August 2020
  • Shareholders: 77 percent: private investor consortium of four individuals; 13 percent: Highlanders Provincial Unions; Otago Rugby Football Union, North Otago Rugby Football Union, Rugby Southland Ltd; 10 percent: New Zealand Rugby
  • Seven person board – including one independent (Doug Harvie), two, one from Provincial Unions and New Zealand Rugby, four from private investors

Investec Super Rugby Licences
The operators of the five Super Rugby teams are owned by New Zealand Rugby when originally set up, and were run by boards representing the provincial unions in the local region and independent board members.

Reviews into the financial sustainability and structure of Super Rugby and franchises identified the need to reinvigorate the franchise model and provide for additional investment to improve its financial sustainability.

Expressions of interest were called for in December 2011 for four of the five licences. The Highlanders were not part of the process.

A Super Rugby Licensee’s responsibilities will include:

  • management of the team both on-field and off-field including, the professional development for members of the squad
  • marketing and promotion of matches and the team
  • the Licensee will retain gate and sponsorship income and pay administration, additional coaching and management staff, training facilities, match operations, and marketing costs.

New Zealand Rugby will:

  • retain ownership of the brands associated with each team
  • continue to fund player and head (plus one assistant) coach contracts from centralised broadcasting and sponsorship revenue.
  • continue to pay all travel and accommodation costs associated with the regular season (excluding playoffs) through SANZAR




All Blacks Sevens for Dubai and Cape Town tournaments


All Blacks Sevens for Dubai and Cape Town tournaments

All Blacks Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens has named a squad of 14 players for the first two tournaments of the 2015/16 HSBC Sevens World Series; Dubai Sevens (4-5 December) and Cape Town (12-13 December).

ARFUf2015044726486117701The team  of 12 players for Dubai will be named Tuesday. The travelling squad is;

Dylan Collier (Waikato)
Scott Curry (Capt) (Bay of Plenty)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Declan O’Donnell (Waikato)
Lewis Ormond (Taranaki)
Augustine Pulu (Waikato)
Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato)
Beaudein Waaka (Taranaki)
Regan Ware (Waikato)
Joe Webber (Waikato)

The team departs for Dubai on Sunday 29 November.

Tietjens said the thinking behind taking 14 players was to provide further incentive for all players to push for places in the final 12. He will follow the same format all season.

“It’s for all those players to put pressure on others at training. Knowing you’re not in the starting 12 you can get complacent and lose focus. I want pressure put on every individual in all the teams we name throughout the year.

“For training it’s great to have two teams of sevens up against each which again creates more competition.”

All Blacks and Chiefs halfback Augustine Pulu is set for a possible debut. Tietjens has been impressed with how quickly he has adapted to sevens having not played the shortened game before.

“He’s a fine rugby player. He’s come on in leaps and bounds in the time he has been with us. The improvement has been immense this week. This is a great opportunity for him to put his hand up to have a crack at other teams this season.

“He’s got very good vision. He’s quick off the mark. He’s quick to spot a gap. He’s going to keep teams honest and he’s very strong and physical.”

He had high praise for Waikato speedster Regan Ware as well. “He’s the quickest player in the team. He’s a great defender and attacker. It’s important we have a player like Regan out wide who can score tries from out of nothing, beating a man one-on-one so he’s a good player to have in the squad.”

Dubai has not been a happy hunting ground for the All Blacks Sevens in recent years, but Tietjens said the team was determined to start this critical new season well.

“I have set a goal for this team; let’s go and win Dubai. Let’s give it our best shot. We may or may not win, but I’d like to think we come out of this tournament with distinction, that we are on the improve. We have prepared well. We have planned well. Now we have to perform. An injury free side, no excuses really, and ready to perform.”

Schedule for Dubai Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens are drawn in Pool C and play France and Portugal before finishing the day against USA who ended last season by winning the London Sevens.

Friday 4 December – Pool Play

  • 10.30am (7.30pm NZT) v France
  • 2.14pm (11.14pm NZT) v Portugal
  • 7.58pm (5.58am Sat 5 Dec NZT) v USA

Saturday 5 December Finals

Watch Dubai Sevens live on Sky Sport’s Rugby Channel

  • Friday 4 December – Pool play: 5.50pm – 6.00am (Women’s Finals coverage from 1.00am – 3.00am Saturday 5 December)
  • Saturday 5 December – Finals: 6.20pm – 5.30am



New Zealand Women’s Sevens team for season opener in Dubai


The New Zealand Women’s Sevens team to play in the opening tournament of the international HSBC Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai next week has been named.

The team is:

Ruby Tui
Hazel Tubic
Jordon Webber
Sarah Goss (capt)
Gayle Broughton
Tyla Nathan-Wong
Kelly Brazier
Katarina Whata-Simpkins
Portia Woodman
Niall Williams*
Michaela Blyde
Shiray Tane
Counties Manukau
Bay of Plenty

*new cap

Several players were unavailable through injury: Charlotte Scanlan (shoulder), Kayla McAlister (foot), Stacey Waaka (shoulder), Lesley Ketu (ankle), Alexis Tapsell (neck), Selica Winiata (back).

Head Coach Sean Horan said the first team of the new season was young which augured well for the future.

“We have a few injuries which have resulted in some changes, but going into Dubai we’re really excited. We have the mainstay of Tyla, Kelly, Sarah and Portia and some up and coming players like Gayle Broughton and Hazel Tubic who have been going exceptionally well and some new blood so it’s a great mix to take into the first tournament of the new season.”

There is one new cap in the side with the selection of Niall Williams who comes from a very talented family. Her brother is All Black Sonny Bill Williams.

“She’s an amazing athlete similar to her brother. She’s worked very hard over the last nine months to really make this happen. She’s a very powerful and skilful player, coming from a touch background so that’s good. Physically she’s tough so we’re excited. We’re not expecting fireworks straight away, but she has real potential and we see a big future for her.”

While the team secured their third straight Women’s Sevens Series title last season and qualified for the Olympics by winning three tournaments, they dipped out in the last two tournaments.

“We were happy, but got a bit ahead of ourselves. Other teams were hungry for it and we did drop off. Looking forward we know Australia and Canada are big threats. USA and France did extremely well and we have the old foes of England and Fiji so there’s plenty of competition out there. We’re excited about that and we’ll embrace the challenge.”

“We have a strong foundation, but we will have to work and experiment. We want to win the World Series and we’re confident in our plans and processes.”

Dubai Sevens schedule

Thursday 3 December
1:00pm (11am NZT) v Russia
4:00pm (1am Friday NZT) v Brazil
7:00pm (4am Friday NZT) v France

Friday 4 December – Finals Day

World Rugby HSBC Women’s Sevens Series tournaments

Watch Dubai Sevens on SKY Sport
The final two hours of the women’s tournament will be screened live on the Rugby Channel, 1.00am to 3.00am on Saturday 5 December.



Sevens maestro Tomasi Cama takes on pivotal new role



All Blacks Sevens legend Tomasi Cama is taking on a critical new role with both national sevens sides as the teams build to their most important season yet.

The star playmaker will deliver performance analysis services to the All Blacks Sevens and New Zealand Women’s sevens coaches and players.

“It’s fantastic that we can tap into his vast knowledge of the game, especially over the crucial eight months ahead as we prepare for the Olympics,” said Tony Philp, New Zealand High Performance Sevens Manager.

Cama is a legend in game, clocking up more than 60 World Series tournaments in a decade long career that saw him earn a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal in 2010, a World Championship title in 2013 and be named World Sevens Player of the Year in 2012. He remains the second highest points scorer in the game.

“There’re very few players who have the deep understanding of sevens that Junior has,” said Philp. “He’s an undoubted master of the game with a real appreciation of the skills and tactics required for teams to perform consistently at the highest level.

“We’re very excited that he can keep contributing to the game he loves in this way. There’s huge respect for Junior and we’re sure he will add real value to the approach both teams are taking to what’s an increasingly competitive international circuit.”

Cama’s role with the teams will involve video analysis working alongside the current video analysts. He will also help with the identification of promising young players and be involved in New Zealand Rugby’s sevens coach development strategy.

“I’m really excited about the challenge,” said Cama. “I love the game of sevens. It’s been my life for so long now and while my playing days are behind me I was keen to find a role where I could stay involved and give something back to a game that’s done so much for me so this is a great fit.”

Cama will travel to the Dubai World Series which kicks off the 2015/16 season for both the All Blacks Sevens and New Zealand Women’s Sevens.

He currently coaches the Manawatu Sevens team.

About Tomasi Cama
All Blacks Sevens (2005-14)
Known as “Junior” to his teammates the Fijian-born powerhouse was a long serving member of the All Blacks Sevens with more than 60 tournaments under his belt since his debut in 2005. He remains second on the ladder of all time points scorers in the World Series.  Cama crowned a great 2011/12 season by being named IRB Sevens Player of the Year, the fourth Kiwi to pick up the prestigious prize. He won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in New Delhi in 2010 and was a member of the World Champion side that triumphed in Moscow in 2013.





World Rugby cuts back Women’s Circuit


World Rugby cuts back Women’s Circuit

The schedule for the 2015-16 HSBC Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series (WSWS) has been released, and as of now the circuit has been shortened to only four legs. Two of the host cities from last season, London and Amsterdam, are absent from the current schedule. Though there has been no formal announcement from World Rugby, they have indicated a desire to add a fifth stop, date and location as of now undecided.

It’s a situation that runs counter to the official position presented in the 2011-16 World Rugby (then IRB) Women’s Rugby Plan, which states that World Rugby will “look strategically at growing the [women’s] Game globally and maximising the opportunities presented.”

With so little official information available on the decision to abbreviate the WSWS, there has been speculation that logistics are at the heart of the matter. Amsterdam has fulfilled its three-year commitment to the WSWS, and became an unlikely host after the Dutch team failed to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics. London, meanwhile, proved to be a lackluster stop on last year’s tour, though they remain the most likely candidate should an additional tournament be added.

Others have suggested instead that World Rugby simply aren’t invested enough in the WSWS. A tweet from the official account of Stars Rugby 7s, an American developmental team, read: “It’s simply not right that men get added stops & women’s are reduced.”

Reaction from players has also been negative since World Rugby’s decision came to light, with a number citing concerns that high quality competition was being taken away heading towards the all-important Olympics. Surely World Rugby would have preferred not to open the 2015-16 WSWS amid such speculation and negativity. This season is now shaping up as a public test of their commitment to women’s sevens.

2015, December 3-4, Dubai
2016, February 20-21, São Paulo
2016, April 8-9, Atlanta
2016, April 16-17, Langford

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All Blacks Sevens training squad named

Scott Curry (Getty Images)

New skipper Scott Curry heads an 18-strong All Blacks Sevens training squad to prepare for the opening two tournaments of the world series in December.

Curry took taken over the captaincy from long-time skipper DJ Forbes, who stepped down to concentrate on getting in the best shape to push for selection for next year’s Rio Olympics.

The training squad is missing the likes of All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam, who have both put their hands up for the Olympics and are coming off New Zealand’s successful defence of the World Cup.

New Zealand have won 12 of the 16 world series, but had to settle for third last season behind winners Fiji and runners-up South Africa.

The new season begins in Dubai on December 4, when the All Blacks Sevens’ pool opponents will be France, Portugal and the United States, who ended last season by winning the London tournament.

The circuit continues in Cape Town the following weekend.

The training squad assemble in Mt Maunganui on Monday and the New Zealand team for the first two rounds will be named on Thursday.

All Black Sevens training squad: Dylan Collier (Waikato), Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Gillies Kaka (Hawkes Bay), Antonio Kirikiri (Manawatu), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Declan O’Donnell (Waikato), Lewis Ormond (Taranaki), Augustine Pulu (Waikato), Lote Raikabula (Wellington), Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty), Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Isaac Te Aute (Bay of Plenty), Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato), Beaudein Waaka (Taranaki), Regan Ware (Waikato), Joe Webber (Waikato).