Kaikohe's Portia Woodman has been named in the Black Ferns for the Sydney leg of the HSBC Women's Sevens Series.

The squad, featuring two changes from a disappointing Dubai leg where they finished fifth, will be looking to bounce back to form as they look to build form going into a hectic 2018.

Woodman will be keen to continue her strong run in form in sevens over the last couple of seasons with the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Coach Allan Bunting is happy with the level of talent at his disposal going into the Sydney tournament and has brought in Tenika Willison and Stacey Waaka following strong performances at the Bayleys National Sevens tournament in Rotorua.


"It was probably one of the toughest teams I've ever had to select. The players that have missed out are going really well but that's putting us in a great place, particularly as we head into the Commonwealth Games this year," he said.

"Tenika pushed her way in. She was really consistent during the national tournament back home and she's growing as a player in that halfback and first five position so we are really happy with her progress.

"Stacey impressed us, she put her hand up. She has this ability to strike with her footwork and is an asset off the field."

The Black Ferns were a dominant force in last year's series, winning five of the six legs to comfortably take out the title, and will be looking to rediscover that form in the Sydney heat.

Bunting said while playing in the city could be challenging, it gave them ideal preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

"We've had a couple of tough days and have come out to Sydney early to get used to the heat. Sydney is one of the hottest places we travel to but luckily we're set up right by the beach," he said.

"We didn't do well in Dubai. It was disappointing but it brought up a few things that happened this time last year. So hopefully we've learnt from that again and we've grown in a couple of areas we looked at closely.

"We're not looking at the end product, more so game by game. It'll be a tough one but it'll be a great tournament. There's going to be a good crowd playing alongside the men.

"It's good preparation for the Commonwealth Games but we really want to do well here."

Black Ferns squad: Sarah Goss (c), Ruby Tui, Alena Saili, Stacey Waaka, Niall Williams, Michaela Blyde, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Portia Woodman, Tenika Willison.