It will be all on in Dubai this weekend with the best men's and women's sevens teams in the world competing in the next round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Black Ferns Sevens coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney have named the 12 players tasked with defending their Dubai Sevens crown, in their second tournament of the season this weekend.

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Injuries to regular speedsters Portia Woodman and Michaela Blyde have seen Shiray Kaka brought into the team, her last tournament was in Paris in 2018.


Kaka originally made her debut in the black jersey in 2013 but an unfortunate run of injuries has disrupted her time on the field.

"Shiray has been out of the programme for a year but she has come back and adds a lot of energy to the group. She has magic feet and its going to be really good to unleash her and watch how she goes," assistant coach Stu Ross said.

Huia Harding will suit up in her second outing for the Black Ferns.

"Huia has been in our programme for a while now but unfortunately for her she has sat behind some pretty good players, namely Sarah Hirini. She is full of energy and excitement and we are looking forward to seeing her out there."

Ross said pool matches against Japan, England and France would provide a stern challenge for the team.

"Japan are full of energy and are unpredictable, England have grown as a team over the last series and matches between France and New Zealand are always full on."

Premium gold

Meanwhile, All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw has named a strong side for the team's opening tournament of the Sevens World Series, as they also attempt to go back-to-back as champions in Dubai.

A long preseason has the team well prepared for the season ahead, which culminates at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.


Coach Clark Laidlaw said the players are bursting at the seams to get out onto the field.

"I think the men are sick of hitting each other and training against each other. It will be good to get opposition that isn't us and try a few things we have been working on over the pre-season."

Salesi Rayasi returns to the Sevens jersey after four tournaments last year, including the Rugby World Cup Sevens victory in San Francisco.

He has since made his debut for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby and was nominated for the Duane Monkley Medal for his efforts for Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup.

All Blacks Sevens player Dylan Collier breaks away to score a try during last year's Dubai Sevens. Photo / Getty Images
All Blacks Sevens player Dylan Collier breaks away to score a try during last year's Dubai Sevens. Photo / Getty Images

"It's exciting to have Salesi back in the team, he fits in on and off the field. He's really forced is way into selection because he is an x-factor player."

The All Blacks Sevens will face Wales on day one, with two remaining pool matches against Canada and Samoa on day two.

"All three matches will be tough, Wales have a new coach so we don't know what to expect from them, Canada are one of the most experienced teams on the circuit and Samoa have assembled a strong squad and they always bring it to us," Laidlaw said.

The teams

Black Ferns Sevens:

1. Ruby Tui, 2. Shakira Baker, 3. Stacey Waaka, 4. Niall Williams, 5. Huia Harding, 6. Tenika Willison, 7. Tyla Nathan-Wong (c), 8. Kelly Brazier, 9. Gayle Broughton, 10. Theresa Fitzpatrick, 11. Shiray Kaka, 12. Alena Saili, 13. Risaleaana Pouri-Lane (travelling reserve).

All Blacks Sevens: 1. Scott Curry (co-c), 2. Tim Mikkelson (co-c),
3. Tone Ng Shiu, 4. Salesi Rayasi, 5. Dylan Collier, 6. Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, 7. Sam Dickson, 8. Andrew Knewstubb, 9. Regan Ware, 10. Kurt Baker, 11. Joe Webber, 12. Sione Molia, 13. Akuila Rokolisoa (travelling reserve).