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Otago and Southland will be part of a straight shoot-out in the women’s sevens tournament at Timaru today.
Just four teams are lining up at Alpine Energy Stadium for the tournament and the top three will be able to go through to the national tournament in Tauranga in two weeks.
Teams would play a straight round robin and from there there would be a final and a third and fourth playoff.
It will be an Otago side lacking match play that takes the field.Otago coach David Latta, who is being assisted by Marty Hurring, said the side had not been able to get any warm-up matches as Southland was not able to provide any opposition.
Otago has some new faces in the ranks. Touch player Abbey Johnston was a new player and Latta said he was impressed by her skills and her ability to find space. She was likely to fill a playmaking role.
Jordyn Tereu is a university student and hails from Bay of Plenty. Latta is also looking to her to help create some opportunities.
Trisha Hopcroft hails from Southland but is now studying in Dunedin. She has some speed. Zoey Flockton is also back after a spell away from the game.Sam Hollows will captain the side while Kilistina Moata’ane will also take the field.
Moata’ane was picked for the Black Ferns tour of United States and France but an ankle injury picked up in the Farah Palmer Cup championships final led to her withdrawing from the squad.
Latta said she was slowly working her way back to fitness and was keen to help out the side.
She may spend some time in the forwards along with midfielder Greer Muir.
Latta said some prospective players had decided to have a rest after the Spirit season or were committed to other sports.
Obviously, it would be ideal for teams to make the final so it did not have to go into a sudden-death match, he said.
Southland has a couple of exciting players in its team with Laura Buckingham and Amy du Plessis lining up. Buckingham has played in Japan and has some talent in the game.
The Southland side caused an upset last year when it beat Tasman in the playoff for third to make the national tournament.
Otago: Jess Kendall, Julia Gorinski, Kiana Wereta, Mikayla Latta, Sam Hollows (captain), Sammy Wong, Abbey Johnston, Zoey Flockton, Greer Muir, Kilistina Moata’ane, Trisha Hopcroft, Jordyn Tereu.
Southland: Amy du Plessis, Charlotte Dabell, Kirsty Thwaites, Amy Rule, Savanna Steele, Erica Stevens, Krishanee Tamou, Hana Bryant, Elizabeth Pera, Laura Buckingham, Nicole Kennedy, Jacqueline Lattimore.