Black Ferns Sevens squad to travel to Dubai
An experienced Black Ferns Sevens squad to travel to Dubai for the opening tournament of the 2017/2018 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series has been named.
The travelling squad of 14 is:
• Alena Saili
• Gayle Broughton
• Katarina Whata-Simpkins
• Kayla McAlister
• Kelly Brazier
• Michaela Blyde
• Niall Williams
• Portia Woodman
• Ruby Tui
• Sarah Goss
• Stacey Waaka
• Tenika Willison
• Theresa Fitzpatrick
• Tyla Nathan-Wong
The final playing 12 for Dubai will be named next Wednesday.
Black Ferns Sevens Coach Allan Bunting said the Dubai tournament was important preparation ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup. The squad flies out on Saturday to Abu Dhabi for an earlier than usual on-ground assembly.
“The players have had a good pre-season, and with a short run-up to the Commonwealth Games, this is important preparation for us, and important opportunity to build continuity and consistency,” Bunting said.
Returning to the squad are Kayla McAlister, back after maternity leave, and Kelly Brazier, returning from injury.
“There will be serious competition in the group and a great chance for everyone to stand out under pressure.
“We would normally assemble in Mt Maunganui for a week before travelling, then having less than a week to prepare.
“This time, we’ve planned to head over a week earlier than normal to get the travel out of the way, and spend a decent amount of time acclimatising, so that when we get into the tournament, the players are ready to go,” Bunting said.
“It was good to get the win at the Oceania tournament in Fiji last weekend as it provided the ideal preparation for the start of the World Series. But, we are well aware of what we have in front of us in South Africa, France and USA on day one, which will really measure where we are at.
“Fiji was a great opportunity to play different opposition rather than just playing ourselves. We certainly faced some challenges which was great for us.
“We have a purpose to leave mana behind wherever we go, whether that’s on the field or in the communities that we get to visit, and Fiji was very beneficial for us,” he said.
The squad flies out from Auckland International Airport on Saturday night.
HSBC Women’s Sevens Series 2017/18
Dubai: 30 November – 1 December
Sydney: 26 – 28 January
Kitakyushu: 21-22 April
Langford: 12 – 13 May
Paris: 8 – 10 June