New Zealand's first sevens team to attend the Youth Olympic Games was announced this week.

The women's under-18 team qualified for the Games after winning the Oceania Under-18 Sevens Championship earlier this year, with the New Zealand Olympic Committee since confirming their inclusion as the female team to attend.

The team includes Tynealle Fitzgerald from the Rangiuru Sports Club based in Te Puke.

Head coach and Bay of Plenty women's sevens coach Victoria Grant says it was great news to learn the team had been selected to attend.


"As a group we worked incredibly hard in the lead-up to the Oceania event and that showed with the on-field performance. To get the confirmation that our team would be included as part of the New Zealand team for the Youth Olympics was incredible," the former Black Ferns captain says.

"We had a wider squad of 20 players that have been training and preparing for this, selecting just 12 was a very difficult task.

"We are confident that we have a team that will push hard for a gold medal. Risi [Pouri-Lane] and Jazmin [Hotham] are involved with the Black Ferns Sevens team so bring a real level of experience and professionalism to the squad."

New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith congratulated the selected athletes.

"The Youth Olympic Games are part of the pathway to the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and we're delighted that a new generation of rugby sevens players will have this experience.

"We're excited about the sporting, educational and cultural opportunities the Youth Olympic Games provide and welcome the players to the New Zealand team."

New Zealand Rugby's chief of rugby, Nigel Cass, says it is fantastic to be involved in the Youth Olympic Games for the first time.

"The Youth Olympic Games is a fantastic opportunity for our young players to continue to be inspired to play sevens and perform on the world stage.


"An extensive talent identification process went into this programme to find this group of talented athletes and they performed extremely well in Australia earlier this year. These players are the future of the women's game and we can't wait to see them don the black jersey in Argentina later this year."

NZ Under 18 Sevens team
Tiana Davison, Sacred Heart College, Taranaki
Dhys Faleafaga, St Mary's College, Wellington
Tynealle Fitzgerald, Rangiuru Rugby Club, Bay of Plenty
Iritana Hohaia, Opunake High School, Taranaki
Jazmin Hotham, Hamilton Girls' High School, Waikato
Riscshay Lemanu, Papatoetoe High School, Auckland
Azalleyah Maaka, Gisborne Girls' High School, Poverty Bay
Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, Motueka High School, Tasman
Montessa Tairakena, Hamilton Girls' High School, Waikato
Kalyn Takitimu-Cook, Manukura, Manawatu
Arorangi Tauranga, Hamilton Girls' High School, Waikato
Hinemoa Watene, Howick College, Auckland