Topics: Commonwealth Games, Rugby

High expectations for NZ Womens Sevens

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Australia

Ruby Tui has been ruled out of the Commonwealth Games after contracting the mumps. 

Tui returned to NZ on Monday after being hospitalised in Brisbane for a week.

The NZ Women's Sevens side spoke to media for the first time yesterday after arriving on the Gold Coast. 

Stacey Waaka says despite the loss of the team's most energetic player, they are even more determined heading into their first match. 

Waaka said, "It's really sad we can't have Ruby here with us but it's given us that extra motivation to play for her and our country".

"We farewelled her with a haka and it was quite emotional for all of us, but we're happy she's safe too," says Woodman.

The changes see 19-year-old Alena Saili replacing Tui in the playing group and 17-year-old Risi Pouri-Lane as the travelling reserve.  Both are in line for their international debut. 

Coach Allan Bunting says, "She's straight out of school and new but she's newly-contracted this year but she's grown so quickly and just a fast learner and a really exciting player".

Tui and the team have been cleared of any more cases of mumps, however, the team have not yet been admitted to the athlete's village.  Five players are still being monitored for low blood immunity. 

"We've been training everyday still and we know what we need to do and controlled what we could control and everything else we've left up to the Olympic committee," says Waaka.

Bunting says despite high expectations on the team to make finals alongside Australia, their first obstacle will be getting past Canada in the pool play.

"We got to get their first. Obviously, we've got Kenya and South Africa and then Canada so, we're really focused on getting through that really well".

The team play their first match against Kenya on Friday.