Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens name strong squads for World Cup in San Francisco

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New Zealand have gone with experience in naming two strong men's and women's sevens squads today as they look to defend their titles at the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco.

Portia Woodman of New Zealand looks on. Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Rugby Sevens, Robina Stadium, Gold Coast, Australia. 14 April 2018 © Copyright Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz

Black Ferns sevens star Portia Woodman of New Zealand looks on during a Commonwealth Games match at Robina Stadium in the Gold Coast.

Source: Photosport

Portia Woodman, Michaela Blyde and Tyla Nathan-Wong headline the Black Ferns Sevens side with the All Blacks men's sevens team left without Joe Webber, Sam Dickson and youngster Etene Nanai-Seturo who were unavailable for selection due to injuries.

Black Ferns Sevens coach Allan Bunting said it was difficult to select the squad with the crop of talent in the country.

*Every game of the men's and women's Rugby World Cup Sevens will be live from July 21-23 on TVNZ's Duke channel - Freeview 13, Sky 23, and streaming on tvnz.co.nz.

"It was definitely hard but that's exactly where we want to be. In our trials there was so much motivation, excitement and skill set; we know we have selected the right team," said Bunting.

"We have had a good year, but this group is strict on themselves, we think we have room to improve and those last bits we need to get right are the toughest.

"Our players are incredibly motivated, playing in an amazing stadium and having the chance to leave mana there, to inspire other women, this is another great opportunity for our team."

Scott Curry.
New Zealand All Blacks Sevens during the first day of the Dubai 7s, 2 December 2016.
HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series.
Copyright photo: SportDXB / www.photosport.nz

NZ Sevens captain Scott Curry.

Source: Photosport

All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw said selecting the right team for the knockout tournament was a unique challenge.

"Getting the balance of the squad right was the main thing. It's a different tournament in that its four games instead of six and we can only take 12 players, so we were looking to have flexibility in the 12 in terms of the positions they cover," said Laidlaw.

"No team has ever won back to back World Cup titles since it's started so we have certainly talked about that and about being the first team to change that. We know there are massive challenges to come, all the teams will be really well prepared."

The Black Ferns Sevens face Mexico in their opening match of the World Cup on Friday 20 July (kick off 6.50am Saturday 21 July NZT).

The All Blacks Sevens will play the winner of Russia v Hong Kong in their first match on Saturday 21 July (kick off 3.31pm NZT)

Black Ferns Sevens team: Shakira Baker, Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Sarah Goss (captain), Tyla Nathan-Wong, Ruby Tui, Stacey Waaka, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison, Portia Woodman.

New Zealand men's sevens team: Kurt Baker, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry (co-captain), Trael Joass, Andrew Knewstubb, Jona Nareki, Tim Mikkelson (co-captain), Sione Molia, Salesi Rayasi, Joe Ravouvou, Akuila Rokolisoa, Regan Ware.

 


 

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