After a nine-week break in competition, the Black Ferns Sevens are aiming to continue their winning ways at the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens in Japan this weekend.

The team features two new faces with 18-year-old Dhys Faleafaga set to make her Black Ferns Sevens debut, while Rhiarna Ferris will play at her first World Series event after debuting at the Fast Four tournament in Hamilton in January.

The team are yet to lose a tournament this season having finished first in that Hamilton tournament as well as in the first three World Series rounds in Colorado, Dubai and Sydney.

Black Ferns Sevens Assistant Coach Cory Sweeney is full of praise for Ferris and Faleafaga ahead of their World Series debuts.


"It's two very different stories, Rhiarna has been working away for almost 18 months and has come back from injury for this opportunity while on the other hand, Dhys is straight out of school, she has only recently come into our team and has slotted in nicely. It's going to be exciting for both of them."

The debuts come on the back of a handful of injuries to the Black Ferns Sevens, with a number of experienced players sidelined for the Kitakyushu event.

"Injury provides opportunity. We are totally confident with the group of players we have in Japan, in that they can continue performing at a high level.

"There is a lot of unknowns in terms of new players; they need to go express themselves and they might take a few people by surprise. It's an exciting weekend for the Black Ferns Sevens and for the future of this team."

Sweeney said with the World Series continuing to improve every year, pool play is never an easy task.

"There is no such thing as an easy day one. We have Japan first up who will be tough, we haven't played Russia for a while but they are always challenging and then France is another strong team."

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Black Ferns Sevens team to play in Japan:
1. Ruby Tui
2. Shakira Baker
3. Stacey Waaka
4. Niall Williams
5. Sarah Hirini – captain
6. Cheyelle Robins-Reti
7. Tyla Nathan-Wong
8. Dhys Faleafaga
9. Tenika Willison
10. Rhiarna Ferris
11. Terina Te Tamaki
12. Alena Saili
*Risaleaana Pouri-Lane is the travelling reserve.

New Zealand's Kitakyushu Sevens day one schedule:
New Zealand vs Japan: Saturday, April 20, 3.20pm (NZT).
New Zealand vs Russia: Saturday, April 20, 5.42pm (NZT).
New Zealand vs France: Saturday, April 20, 8.26pm (NZT).


Women's 2018-2019 HSBC Sevens Series Rounds:
Colorado: October 20-21, 2018 - Winners.
Dubai: November 29-30, 2018 - Winners.
Sydney: February 1-3 - Winners.
Kitakyushu: April 20-21 - TBC.
Langford: May 11-12 - TBC.
Biarritz: June 15-16 - TBC.