New Zealand Rugby's search for the next All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens superstars is set to continue with the 2019 edition of Red Bull Ignite7.
Designed to earmark new talent, the unique five-day event includes an intensive NFL-style combine which will test athletes' fitness and skill levels, as well as an action packed one-day sevens tournament which will be televised live on Sky Sport.
A total of 48 male and 48 female athletes aged between 16-20 will be selected to take part in the event at The Trusts Arena, Waitakere, from November 20-24 where they will compete for six places at the 2020 New Zealand Sevens Development Camps.
NZR head of high performance Mike Anthony said he expected the 2019 version of the event to hold wide appeal to current players as well as non-rugby playing athletes looking to make an impact in sevens.
"Ignite7 provides young athletes with the opportunity to be part of an event which could see a career in sevens take off, regardless of their sporting background. We're looking for strong, fast and agile talent so we're encouraging anyone who thinks they have what it takes to play sevens to register."
Anthony said as well as the three male and three female athletes who secured spots in the 2019 Sevens Development Camps, it was exciting to see a number of athletes from 2018 making significant steps in their sevens careers.
Wings Montessa Tairakena and Mahina Paul both secured contracts with the Black Ferns Sevens for the 2019 season while sevens newcomers William Warbrick and Jacob Kneepkens made the All Blacks Sevens Development squad.
"It's fantastic to see these young athletes kickstart their professional careers and it's great that this programme could play a part in that journey.
"The achievements of these players is testimony to the success of the event, and we're looking forward to seeing what new talent this year's search will unearth as we look to the next big pinnacle event in 2024."
Teams Inferno, Bolt, Surge and Power will be back again this year as the 96 athletes are split into four men's and four women's teams. Viewers might see some familiar faces as a number of last year's participants rejoin their teams in the hope of securing a spot in the 2020 New Zealand Sevens Development Camps.
Over the coming months, NZR's high performance sevens coaches and trainers will evaluate applications before selecting the final teams.
For more information and to register go to www.redbullignite7.co.nz.
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