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Sevens teams take next step to Tokyo as squads named for series against Australia, Fiji

It's that time when teammates become competitors in New rugby sevens camps as they prepare for one of their final steps towards Tokyo.

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The two teams will be whittled down to 12 each from the 18-strong squads named today. Source: 1 NEWS

Squads of 18 to head to Australia were announced today with those groups to be whittled down to 12 each for the Olympics.

The announcement wraps more than a year of the usually well-travelled squads being stuck in New Zealand due to the global pandemic, but with Tokyo on the horizon, the two teams are spreading their wings.

Both teams head for Townsville next week for a tournament against Australia and Fiji, but plan to base themselves there afterwards until the Games with today’s wet weather in Tauranga a perfect example as to why as they need to acclimatise for what’s expected to be intense heat and high humidity in Tokyo.

Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini said she feels sorry for coaches deciding just who got to take that final step in Australia though.

“They’re probably going to have a few sleepless nights,” she said.

Among the groups of stalwarts, certainties and hopefuls are those who've felt the disappointment of having just missed the cut before.

“To be a little bit more deep and personal, I’ve been dreaming of this since I was five years old to be able to play at the Olympic games,” star Michaela Blyde said.

“If I’m good enough to make this team I’m bloody rapt and I feel like I’ve done everything I can,” All Blacks Sevens veteran Kurt Baker added.

“If I don’t make it I don’t make it but there won’t be an unturned stone.”

The Oceania Sevens runs across 25-27 June with the Olympic squads to be named on 30 June.

All Blacks Sevens squad: Kurt Baker, Caleb Clarke, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Trael Joass, Andrew Knewstubb, Vilimoni Koroi, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole, Akuila Rokolisoa, William Warbrick, Regan Ware, Joe Webber and Kitiona Vai.

Black Ferns Sevens squad: Shakira Baker, Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Dhys Faleafaga, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Stacey Fluhler, Sarah Hirini, Jazmin Hotham, Shiray Kaka, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili, Terina Te Tamaki, Ruby Tui, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison and Portia Woodman.