NZ Sevens squads named for final event in Aotearoa

Thu, Jan 19
New Zealand captains Sam Dickson and Sarah Hirini stand with the Hamilton Sevens trophy.

The New Zealand Sevens teams have named their squads for this weekend's event in Hamilton - the final tournament on home soil for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand has been axed as a host from the circuit following World Rugby's decision to change up the Sevens World Series starting next year, making this weekend the final chapter in a 22-year story full of highs and a few lows.

With that in mind, both Kiwi sides have named strong squads to defend home soil.

Following their strong performance in Cape Town last month where they finished second to Samoa, the All Blacks Sevens are looking to go one better with their 11th title in Aotearoa.

Adding to the occasion will be milestones for both Regan Ware and Joe Webber who will both play their 50th tournaments in Hamilton - a highlight that has added to an already special week for the team coach Clark Laidlaw said.

"Joey and Regan are world class, their dedication to this game is outstanding. To bring up 50 tournaments and to do it at home is a special moment for them both and an opportunity to have their whānau to celebrate with them," Laidlaw said.

"Playing at home, you can't beat it! The atmosphere, the support from our fans and whānau, is indescribable. It is our turn now to take the field and show our appreciation for their support this weekend, but also thank them for their support for the past 22 years.

"This week we have prepared with a real energy, and the players are eager to take the field and play to their potential with the crowd behind us, we look forward to embracing that."

The team noted there would be several absences though with Andrew Knewstubb, Kitiona Vai, Scott Curry, Tim Mikkelson, Tone Ng Shiu all unavailable for selection due to injuries and Tepaea Cook-Savage out sick.

The Black Ferns Sevens squad is headlined by four Rugby World Cup champions returning this weekend as Sarah Hirini, Stacey Fluhler, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe and Teresa Fitzpattrick all make the squad.

Head coach Cory Sweeney said having the players return was like getting whānau back together again.

"It is great having the Black Ferns girls back in the mix, they bring plenty to the team, not just on the field but off the field, our little whānau is once again complete," Sweeney said.

"With the return of the Black Ferns, the younger girls have had the opportunity to showcase their craft and they too are eager to don the black jersey, so the internal competition in the squad has really lifted, it has been intense."

Sweeney said the side were determined to make their second tournament on home soil — which will now be their last — special for those turning out.

"The preparation for this weekend has been brilliant," he said.

"There is nothing better playing at home in front of a passionate and vocal crowd, filled with our fans and families. We are eager to take the field and put on a display of entertaining sevens rugby that New Zealanders can be proud of."

The team will be missing Kelly Brazier and Mahina Paul though, who are both injured.

All Blacks Sevens Hamilton squad

2. Brady Rush, 4. Akuila Rokolisoa, 5. Dylan Collier, 6. Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, 7. Sam Dickson (C), 9. Amanaki Nicole, 11. Joe Webber, 12. Leroy Carter, 13. Moses Leo, 21. Che Clark, 27. Sione Molia, 44. Roderick Solo, 64. Regan Ware

Black Ferns Sevens Hamilton squad

4. Niall Guthrie, 3. Stacey Fluhler, 6. Michaela Blyde, 7. Tyla Nathan-Wong, 10. Theresa Fitzpatrick, 11. Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, 12. Alena Saili, 13. Jazmin Felix-Hotham, 22. Shiray Kaka, 34. Sarah Hirini (C), 77. Risi Pouri-Lane, 83. Jorja Miller, 99. Tenika Willison

Hamilton Sevens NZ teams schedule

Saturday, January 21

10.16am: All Blacks Sevens v Tonga

11.44am: Black Ferns Sevens v Papa New Guinee

2.06pm: All Blacks Sevens v Australia

3.12pm: Black Ferns Sevens v Fiji

7.35pm: All Blacks Sevens v Great Britain

8.03pm: Black Ferns Sevens v Great Britain

Sunday, January 22



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