Women's sevens: Auckland camp offers chance to impress

A squad of 31 women assemble in Auckland today ahead of the selection of the first New Zealand team to play in the opening tournament of the inaugural Women's Sevens World Series in Dubai this month.

They include Mystics netballers Portia Woodman and Kayla McAlister, sister of former All Black Luke McAllister, as well as Black Ferns Linda Itnunu and Huriana Manuel.

A world series has been added to the international rugby calendar with sevens added to the Olympic programme in 2016, which prompted the New Zealand Rugby Union to launch a Go4Gold programme to recruit players. More than 1000 women and girls registered and regional tournaments were held in August.

"It's pretty exciting to think about how far we have come since the Go4Gold [in Rio de Janeiro 2016] recruitment campaign," coach Sean Horan said. "We have found some very talented athletes who have very quickly become skilled rugby players.

"This camp is a great opportunity to check on how players have come out of domestic competitions and specific training programmes."

The four rounds of the Women's Sevens World Series will be played in Dubai, USA, China and Netherlands.

Squad for final camp in Auckland: Marama Davis, Linda Itnunu, Onjeurlina Leiataua, Huriana Manuel, Arihiana Marino, Kayla McAlister, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Tiana Ngawati, Renee Wickliffe, Portia Woodman (all Auckland), Olivia Bird, Hannah Brand, Tayla Ford, Ruby Tui, Alexis Tapsell (all Canterbury), Sarah Goss, Hayley Hutana, Kristina Sue (all Manawatu), Amanda Rasch (North Harbour), Lavinia Gould, (Bay of Plenty), Michaela Blyde, Gayle Broughton, Lauren Burgess (all Taranaki), Moana Forbes (Tasman), Ariana Herangi, Honey Hireme, Chyna Hohepa, Carla Hohepa, Crystal Kaua, Jordon Webber (all Waikato), Kiri Mei (Wellington).

- APNZ

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