Topics: Fitness, Health, Rugby

NZ set for Rugby World Cup Sevens

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Portia Woodman of Ngāpuhi, Stacey Waaka of Tūhoe and Te Arawa are among those representing New Zealand at this month's Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.

The naming of the All Black Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens were held in Tauranga today.

As the defending World Cup champions, the stakes are high for New Zealand but faces like Sam Dixon, Joe Webber and newcomer Ngarohi McGravey-Black are not in the team.

Clark Laidlaw, head coach to the All Black Sevens, says, “Now if we were able to take 13 or 14 players on the road we may have took one or two of those boys but they just missed out.  They haven't played any rugby for the past couple of months and we really went for the guys who were fit and available”.

Portia Woodman, who was named in today's squad, says training has been intense but she is looking forward to her team's first game against Mexico on the 20th of this month.

“I'm really happy to be in this team.  This is my second time in a competition like this so I'm happy, surprised to play in this competition”.

This is Stacey Waaka's first world cup but she believes she has the experience to help her along the way.

“It was awesome winning gold at [the Commonwealth Games] and I think that helped us and stirred the fire to try and get another one.”

There are 24 countries in the men's tournament and 16 national unions in the women's field of the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Both teams travel to San Francisco this weekend.