With a debut on home soil under the belt, the Black Ferns Sevens turn their attention the HSBC Sydney Sevens, kicking off today at Spotless Stadium.
Coach Allan Bunting has named an unchanged line up from last weekend’s victorious Fast Four team.
The team is:
1. Ruby Tui
2. Shakira Baker
3. Stacey Waaka
4. Niall Williams
5. Sarah Hirini (nee Goss) – captain
6. Michaela Blyde
7. Tyla Nathan-Wong
8. Kat Whata-Simpkins
9. Gayle Broughton
10. Theresa Fitzpatrick
11. Terina Te Tamaki
12. Alena Saili
*Rhiarna Ferris is the travelling reserve.
Coach Allan Bunting said the Fast Four tournament provided perfect preparation for the first Series event of 2019.
“We were a bit rusty last weekend so having that game time under the belt will prove crucial as we lead into this event. Usually we prepare by playing games against ourselves which isn’t quite realistic, so we have a good foundation set going into Day One,” said Bunting.
Sydney holds tough memories for the Black Ferns Sevens team, this time last year they suffered their heaviest defeat, 31-0 at the hands of Australia in the Cup Final.
“We learnt a lot from that loss and we revisit it often. It helps us focus on what we can get better at because we still have plenty of areas we can grow and improve,” said Bunting.
– This is the third Sydney Sevens, the Black Ferns Sevens have finished third and second at previous events.
– The loss against Australia in the 2018 final, 31-0, was the last match that the Black Ferns Sevens lost, going unbeaten through five World Series events, the Commonwealth Games and World Cup in the year since.
– The Black Ferns Sevens lead the Series for most points and tries scored, with Michaela Blyde the top try scorer. Ruby Tui and Sarah Hirini are the leading tacklers.
– Injuries to Portia Woodman (Achilles) and Kelly Brazier (calf) see the Black Ferns Sevens without two of their most experienced players.
– The top four teams at the end of the World Series will gain qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Black Ferns Sevens currently sit first in standings.
Day One – February 1
3.06pm NZT v Papua New Guinea
5.50pm v France
8.34pm v England
Day Two & Three – Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd February
Black Ferns Sevens 2018-2019 schedule
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 20-21 October, Glendale – WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 29-30 November, Dubai – WINNERS
Fast Four tournament, 26-27 January, Hamilton – WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-3 February, Sydney
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 20-21 April, Kitakyushu
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 11-12 May, Langford
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 31 June – 2 July, Paris