Bay of Plenty's connection with the Black Ferns sevens team continued with yesterday's announcement of the new head coach.

Rotorua-born, former Steamers player Allan Bunting replaces Tauranga's Sean Horan for the next four-year cycle leading up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Bunting has been the assistant coach of the team since 2012 during which time he helped the team win three World Series titles and silver at the Rio Olympics.

"Obviously I am very honoured and privileged to be in this position, definitely very excited about the challenges we have ahead of us," Bunting said.


"We are very lucky and blessed here in New Zealand to have such potential and talent, not just players but coaches and resources.

"I am really excited about maximising what we have and seeing it showcased on the world stage.

"I've loved working with the team over the last five years. I've got good relationships with the players and I know we can achieve even greater success."

Bunting said getting the right people involved was the biggest challenge.

"I want to build on the existing culture and grow a player-led environment that thrives on being challenged and is focused on enjoying our journey, a team culture based on whanaungatanga.

"My focus for the first part is getting the right support people and players in place and building key relationships which will be vital in forming the foundations for long-term success.

"I also want to help grow the depth of athletes playing sevens. It doesn't matter if you are not a rugby player, if you have the desired attributes then I'm interested to see how you go playing sevens."

Allowing the players to develop and gain personal confidence are key to Bunting's approach.

"Over the years it has been about consistency and giving the players as much chance and as much opportunity to gather that experience, so that when they do get to that big stage they are pretty confident in what they are doing.

"It is almost like you let them loose and it is building that confidence over time."

Black Ferns captain Sarah Goss is delighted with Bunting's appointment.

"He is a big believer in having a great culture in our side. I think that is what our team is going to need to grow moving forward if we are to have great success.

"Allan is very respected around the girls. He has great rugby knowledge, he has played a lot of rugby around the world and I am just excited to be beside him."

Bunting wants to see the mana in the Black Ferns jersey enhanced.

"We will become world dominant and I think with a player-led environment we will definitely laugh and dance along the way."

He would also like to see a centralised sevens programme based at the High Performance Centre at Mount Maunganui, akin to what helped the Australian women reach the top podium at Rio.

"Consistency, time together and that real internal competition with everyone competing every day holistically no matter what we are doing, means you are going to get some pretty good growth," he said.