Nathan-Wong out as injuries hamper NZ Sevens World Cup squads

Brodyn Knuckey
Source: 1News

The Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens have named their squads for next month's World Cup title defences in South Africa with both teams missing some big names due to injuries.

Tyla Nathan-Wong lies injured during the Black Ferns' Test against Wallaroos.

The men's side named a 14-man team for the tournament while the women's outfit featured 12 names as well as two travelling reserves.

For the Black Ferns Sevens, the biggest omission is long-time playmaker Tyla Nathan-Wong who has been listed as unavailable due to injury after her debut for the Black Ferns in the 15-a-side game earlier this month against Australia was cut short by an HIA check.

Shakira Baker and Tysha Ikenasio were also listed as injured.

Among those named, captain Sarah Hirini will celebrate a special milestone in South Africa as she becomes the first Black Ferns Sevens player to reach the milestone of 50 tournaments for the side.

At the other end of the experience spectrum will be Canterbury's Jorja Miller with the 18-year-old named to make her debut in the black jersey.

"The team is surrounded by some really good energy at the moment," coach Cory Sweeney said.

"We can all jump on board and be inspired if its about the first tournament or the 50th tournament – it will be important for the players to express themselves and enjoy this moment."

Sweeney added the team were particularly excited for Miller who had been marked for the black jersey for years.

"We’ve watched Jorja since she was 15 years old and she’s been a stand out amongst her peers.

"We had internal games last week and there was no question, she stood up and really earned her selection."

The All Blacks Sevens enter South Africa on a high after finishing this year's series with a title in Los Angeles, although it didn't come without a price.

Ngarohi McGarvey-Black runs at the Los Angeles Sevens.

The men's side lost four players in the US to add to their already sizeable injury tally; Tim Mikkelson, Rhodes Featherstone, Kitiona Vai, Joe Webber, Leroy Carter, Roderick Solo, Che Clark, Andrew Knewstubb all unavailable for selection on Wednesday as a result.

Coach Clark Laidlaw said there were some definite selections among those ruled out but he's happy with the side he's been able to name.

"I guess the exciting part of the weekend just been was the emergence of some players that don’t always get a lot of game time. It tested our depth and showed if we apply ourselves the players we have are very capable," Laidlaw said.

"Winning like that builds belief. We had a tough pool but there were little moments that set the tone in terms of the resilience we want to show."

Both sides enter their respective tournaments as reigning champions after successful campaigns in San Francisco four years ago; the men beat England in their final while the women took down France.

All Blacks Sevens: Kurt Baker, Dylan Colllier, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson [CC], Moses Leo, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Sione Molia [CC], Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole, Lewis Ormond, Akuila Rokolisoa, Brady Rush, Caleb Tangitau, Regan Ware

Black Ferns Sevens: Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Stacey Fluhler, Sarah Hirini [C], Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Shiray Kaka, Jorja Miller*, Risaleeana Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison, Portia Woodman Travelling reserves: Manaia Nuku and Mahina Paul