The rising stars of New Zealand Sevens will gather in Tauranga next month for New Zealand Sevens Development trials.

Among the 51 players selected are Bay of Plenty's Kiki Tahere, Mererangi Paul, Tynealle Fitzgerald, William Warbrick, Hunter Mokomoko, Peni Lasaqa and Rewita Biddle.

Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens selectors have kept a close on the numerous domestic sevens tournaments held recently, including the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 and last weekend's TECT National Sevens.

Tahere, who moved from Wellington to the Bay of Plenty last year, has only just turned 18 but her rise in sevens has been rapid. She played an integral role in the Bay of Plenty women's fourth place finish at nationals last weekend.


"I'm pretty stoked, pretty happy [to make the development trial]. Now I need to prepare well for the camp and look to make the final 10-12 players."

She said the level of competition at nationals was "really good" and she learned a lot from the more experienced players in her side such as captain Rebecca Kersten and Black Fern Les Elder.

"I think our team played pretty well for a very young team. I think I went all right, it was just good to get more experience, I've still got more to learn.

"The more experienced players are really helpful, especially Les, being a Black Fern, she knows what it's like to be in a high-performance environment and she passes on all her knowledge to us to make it easy. Becs being our captain is also very helpful, she leads us well."

William Warbrick makes a run during Ignite 7 at The Trusts Arena in November. Photo / Getty Images
William Warbrick makes a run during Ignite 7 at The Trusts Arena in November. Photo / Getty Images

Former Rotorua Boys' High School student Warbrick skipped the TECT National Sevens to sort out a niggling injury, but he and Paul had already impressed selectors a month earlier at Red Bull Ignite7. He said he was "happy and proud" to make the trial.

"When I first found out I was pretty speechless and grateful for the opportunity. I'll be focusing on my fitness during the next few weeks, making sure my body is in the best condition possible. That's definitely important - I wasn't in the best shape and condition at Ignite, so that's the main focus."

He said his ultimate goal would be to wear the All Blacks Sevens jersey, but he had to take things one step at a time and focus on putting his best foot forward next month.

The All Blacks Sevens Development trial will see 28 players vie for places in the 2019 Development team who will assemble for two camps. The trial will be held on January 11-13.


Players attending the Black Ferns Sevens Development trial, from January14-18, will have extra motivation with four wider training contracts on offer, and places in the 2019 Development squad.

New Zealand Rugby high-performance talent development sevens manager Chad Tuoro said the domestic sevens season had uncovered potential stars.

"In the past two months there have been more opportunities than ever before for young players to get on the field and impress.

"And they have done exactly that, our game is in a good place when you see the talent that is coming through. Now our job is to bring them together and see who has the ability to take that next step."

Black Ferns Sevens Development Trialists
Janna Vaughan (Auckland), Natahlia Moors (Auckland), Tysha Ikenasio (Auckland), Kennedy Simon (Auckland), Kiki Tahere (Bay of Plenty), Mererangi Paul (Bay of Plenty), Tynealle Fitzgerald (Bay of Plenty), Grace Steinmetz (Canterbury), Kendall Buckingham (Canterbury), Carys Dallinger (Manawatu), Crystal Mayes (Manawatu), Hayley Hutana (Manawatu), Kalyn Takitimu-Cook (Manawatu), Lauren Balsillie (Manawatu), Amy Du Plessis (Otago), Tiana Davison (Taranaki), Chey Robins-Reti (Waikato), Leanna Ryan (Waikato), Rina Paraone (Waikato), Violet Hapi (Waikato), Dhys Faleafaga (Wellington), Marcelle Parkes (Wellington), Rosi Lomani (Wellington), Valynce Te Whare (Waikato), Adam Simpson (Wellington), Dan Schrivers (Wellington), Losi Filipo (Wellington), Roderick Solo (Wellington).

All Blacks Sevens Development Trialists
Carlos Donnell-Brown (Auckland), Robert Rush (Auckland), Hunter Mokomoko (Bay of Plenty), Peni Lasaqa (Bay of Plenty), Rewita Biddle (Bay of Plenty), William Warbrick (Bay of Plenty), Dan Fransen (Canterbury), Pisi Leilua (Counties Manukau), Tyrone Dodd-Edwards (Hawke's Bay), Te Rangitira Waitokia (Manawatu), Curtis Reid (North Harbour), James Little (North Harbour), Pita Volavola (North Harbour), Taylor Haugh (Otago), Jacob Kneepkens (Taranaki), Liam Blyde (Taranaki), Rhodes Featherston (Taranaki), Te Puoho Stephens (Tasman), Daniel Sinkinsin (Waikato), Declan O'Donnell (Waikato), Jordan Bunce (Waikato), Josh Moorby (Waikato), Kurt Heatherley (Waikato), Valynce Te Whare (Waikato), Adam Simpson (Wellington), Dan Schrivers (Wellington), Losi Filipo (Wellington), Roderick Solo (Wellington).