Have no fear.

That is the key message Bay of Plenty women's sevens head coach Victoria Grant has given her players ahead of their first hit-out this weekend.

Grant, who is in her second year as head coach, has put together a 30-strong squad that combines an abundance of exciting youth with some seasoned veterans who have played at the highest level. They face their first test of the season at the Counties Manukau Provincial Union Sevens tomorrow.

"[During selection] we were looking at the character of the player and their potential as an athlete, as well as X-factor. The whole purpose of this season is to develop our base and our depth in the Bay - to have more girls being exposed to a high level of sevens rugby.


"We've picked a youthful team to get those young girls into a professional sevens environment early, so they get a taste of that and learn the expectations around all parts of sevens, on and off the field," Grant said.

She said she encouraged the players to play fearless rugby and learn from any mistakes they made.

"We've been focusing on learning the structures and systems that we want to play with this year and getting those right - it's quite different this year. This has been a real learning week and they have the chance on Saturday to put that into practice.

Bay of Plenty Women's Sevens Squad Announced

Bay of Plenty Rugby Women’s Sevens Head Coach Victoria Grant has named her Bay of Plenty Women’s Sevens Squad for the 2017/18 season following Saturday’s Baywide Club Rugby Sevens Tournament. The Bay of Plenty Women's Sevens Squad will compete for the first time this weekend at the Counties Manukau Provincial Union Sevens on Saturday 18 November. FULL SQUAD: http://bit.ly/2hoLbpU #BaySevens #BayWide #BayPride #TeManaOToi

Posted by Bay of Plenty Rugby on Sunday, 12 November 2017

"I've told them not to worry about failure. I want them to push themselves and I want them to make mistakes, because that is the best way to learn. Our culture is all around having no fear, just going out and playing to the best of your abilities.

"A lot of the girls who played in the Volcanix this season were our young sevens players last season. So they've had a full year of experience in the 15s game and this year is about them stepping up and really putting in the performances. These are 18 and 19-year olds, still really young, but for their age they have a lot of experience and understand the expectations of our team and our culture."

Last season Bay of Plenty came second in the northern region qualifying tournament, before finishing fifth at the national sevens tournament in Rotorua in January.

"Making the final in the northern region was a huge for our area. To give a bit of context, we didn't make nationals the year before, so to finish second was awesome. We also won every tournament prior to that and this was with a group of mostly 17 and 18-year-olds.

"To be fair, finishing fifth at nationals was a bit disappointing for us because we went into the knockout in the top position but we lost the quarter-final. Nationals is survival of the fittest, you have to get through quite a few tournaments before then. But, that's the benefit of having a big squad and people pushing for positions.

"There are no semis or finals this weekend, it's more about game time for all the provincial unions - it's the first hit out of the sevens season. We've entered two teams, a development side and a top side."

She said New Zealand Black Fern Sevens players Kelly Brazier and Michaela Blyde, and Black Fern Lesley Elder, brought valuable experience to the side.

"They just want to play and have fun, enjoy playing when they come into our environment. But, in doing that, they are role models so their actions speak louder than their words. They are great, they're real leaders with their actions which is awesome for the team."