By Te Karere


The National Sevens Tournament kicks off today in Rotorua with the nation’s top talent set to butt heads.


The Auckland women’s team features some heavy hitters of the sevens system and some new faces on the up and their last-minute preparations for the big weekend ahead.


Their coach, Crystal Kaua, says, “We're pumped. Our girls love playing and love the contact and love getting in amongst it. We've had a decent build up and they just want to get out there and do their thing.”


While Auckland features star Black Fern players like Tyla Nathan-Wong, Niall Williams and more,


Kaua also says they like to also focus on the younger players, “A few young guns in the team. And it's awesome to see, everyone turns up to training at least half an hour before. They're doing some extras, doing some kicking, doing their passing, making sure they're doing all the extras that are required.”


Captain Tiana Ngawati elaborates and says, “Ko wetahi o ngā kotiro ko Abigail Roache,17 ōna tau, he kōtiro tino tāroa, tino kaha hoki ki te oma, ki te pahi, ngā mea katoa.”


With NZ women’s rugby hitting new heights internationally, the team admits competitions going to be tough with Hinemoa Watene saying, “It's going to be intense. It's going to be really good. It's no level that I've seen before.  I’ve only played school girls sevens so it's going to be that next step up.”


Auckland will face their first opponent, Southland, today.