Black Ferns Sevens named for series opener

By James Perry

Allan Bunting has named his first squad of the 2018/2019 World Rugby Sevens Series beginning in Glendale, Colorado, USA next weekend.

The 13-strong squad contains a number of players who were involved in the Commonwealth Games and world cup victories earlier in the year, including Kelly Brazier, who scored the match-winning try on the Gold Coast, as well as leading try-scorers Michaela Blyde and Portia Woodman.

Wider squad members Terina Te Tamaki, Katarina Whata-Simpkins and Huia Harding all had game time last season, and have an opportunity to gain tournament experience in Glendale.

Bunting says, "This was a tough squad to pick but we have a few players that are rehabbing injuries so it did give us the opportunity to grow some depth.  Our philosophy has always been to keep consistency with our core group of players and then we can bring other players in and give them the chance to learn in a tournament environment."

Ngāti Kahungunu's Sarah Goss will again lead the side. 

The Black Ferns Sevens will play China, England and hosts USA in pool play, which begins next weekend.

The squad is:

Shakira Baker Waikato
Michaela Blyde BOP
Kelly Brazier BOP
Theresa Fitzpatrick Auckland
Sarah Goss (c) Manawatū
Huia Harding Waikato
Tyla Nathan-Wong Auckland
Alena Saili Southland
Terina Te Tamaki Waikato
Ruby Tui BOP
Katarina Whata-Simpkins Wellington
Niall Williams Auckland
Portia Woodman Counties-Manukau