With an eye to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the New Zealand Rugby Union has appointed Sean Horan in the newly created role of head coach of the New Zealand Women's Sevens team.

Horan has coached the Bay of Plenty Steamers in the ITM Cup for the past three seasons and before that held an assistant coach role with the Chiefs' development team.

He has also had resource coaching roles with the Black Ferns and the women's sevens team.

Horan said he was excited about the opportunity to develop women's rugby and be a part of an Olympic programme.


"We are starting this programme with a blank canvas which will be incredibly exciting and challenging at the same time,'' Horan said.

"The Black Ferns have proven that this country produces world-class women's rugby players and I am excited about the prospect of identifying talented female athletes and developing potential Olympians,''

New Zealand Rugby Union general manager of professional rugby, Neil Sorensen, said Horan had the right mix of skills to develop the women's sevens game in New Zealand.

"Sean had a great season with the Steamers last year seeing them finish a credible fourth in a very tight ITM Cup Premiership and has proven he is a quality coach.

"His aim now is to build an identification and development programme for women's sevens in New Zealand and this will be a great chance for him, a young coach, to really get stuck in and make his mark in what is an exciting time for sevens rugby,'' Sorenson said.

As part of the national women's sevens development programme, NZRU high performance staff will travel to 14 provincial unions this year to look for talented female athletes who want the chance to be a part of the programme.

Since it was announced in October 2009 that rugby sevens would be an Olympic sport in 2016 the New Zealand Rugby Union has been working on Olympic campaign plans for both the men's and women's game with an aim to win gold medals.

Sparc investment has allowed the creation of a fulltime women's sevens coach and 14 regional sevens resource coaches to assist in the implementation of the women's Olympic campaign.