National squads named as circuit swings into gear

Clark Laidlaw. Photo: Getty Images
Clark Laidlaw. Photo: Getty Images
The national men’s squad will begin its journey to the Tokyo Olympics while the women’s side will get a taste of high-energy action as the sevens circuit swings into gear.

The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens were named yesterday for the tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town before Christmas.

The men’s side has had a long pre-season but has named plenty of regulars.

Coach Clark Laidlaw said after a long pre-season, the squad was in good condition and looking forward to starting the season.

"It’s a real credit to the players and the wider team management the condition that the boys are in leading into this first tournament.

"We have had a long pre-season and the condition physically and from a rugby sense is testament to the hard work that’s been happening," said Laidlaw.

The only players not considered for selection had returned from 15s duties with injury or illness, while Vilimoni Koroi, of Otago, and Caleb Clarke, of Auckland, will remain in New Zealand reintegrating to sevens training.

Players not considered for selection due to injury/illness were Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Joe Ravouvou and Etene Nanai-Seturo.

The women’s squad is without speedsters Portia Woodman and Michaela Blyde because of injury while captain Sarah Hirini is also missing because of a leg injury.

Tyla Nathan-Wong will take on the captain’s.

The women’s team will play in its first back-to-back tournaments on the world series.

The only previous time it has played two full events in a row was the Commonwealth Games followed by the Kitakyushu Sevens in 2018.

The women’s side has played one tournament so far this season, finishing third in the Glendale tournament in the United States.

The Dubai tournament is on December 6-8 while the tournament in Cape Town is a week later.

 

Sevens squads

For Dubai, Cape Town

  • Men: Kurt Baker, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Andrew Knewstubb, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Tone Ng Shui, Salesi Rayasi, Akuila Rokolisoa, William Warbrick, Regan Ware, Joe Webber,
  • Women: Shakira Baker, Gayle Broughton, Kelly Brazier, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Huia Harding, Shiray Kaka, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Risi Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili, Montessa Tairakena, Ruby Tui, Stacey Waaka, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison.

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