The search is on for the next group of Black Ferns sevens players three years out from the 2020 Olympic games in Japan. This is the second time that Go For Gold program has been set up with young girls invited to trial.
Black Ferns sevens coach Allan Bunting says there are a few components that the recruitment team is looking for over the next few weeks.
“Definitely speed is the number one attribute, but character and endurance. Players that have got a lot of character and don't give up, " says Bunting.
Five of the players who were selected for the Olympics last year in Rio came from the first Go for Gold program, including current Black Ferns sevens player Michaela Blyde
“I went to the first trial in Taranaki where we had about fifty girls who were pretty keen. From there onwards I was just making squads, continued going on to camps and started going to tournaments,” says Blyde.
So far, three camps have been held in Tauranga, Gisborne and Palmerston North. This weekend sees further camps being held in Auckland, Wellington and Cambridge. Bunting says he's looking for the x-factor.
“One thing that we are missing in our team is a bit of height in our team. Any bit more height. But for us, it's that speed and that X factor, something you can bring and that real character. “
Blyde, who is a Taranaki representative and originally had a Soccer background, has seen emerging talent from a range of sports backgrounds and has no doubt that these young ladies can transfer those skills.
“Some girls have no idea what kind of talent they have with a rugby ball. With tennis, you could have amazing footwork, same with netball having a catch and pass as well.”
For many of the young ladies, staying motivated in the sevens environment is one of the challenges that Bunting believes face if they make the program.
“This sport is hard, it can be tough but it's making sure our environment is enjoyable. We get to travel the world and sometimes we don't get to see those countries. But when we do, we make sure to enjoy it.”
Go For Gold 2017
14 February 6pm - 8pm Tauranga Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre
15 February 5.30pm - 7.30pm Gisborne Lytton High School
16 February 5.30pm - 7.30pm Palmerston North Queen Elizabeth College
18 February 10am - 12pm Auckland One Tree Hill College
18 February 1pm - 3pm Auckland One Tree Hill College
18 February 10am - 12pm Wellington St Patrick's College, Silverstream
18 February 1pm - 3pm Wellington St Patrick's College, Silverstream
19 February 10am - 12pm North Shore Rangitoto College
19 February 1pm - 3pm North Shore Rangitoto College
19 February 10am - 12pm Cambridge Avantidrome
19 February 1pm - 3pm Cambridge Avantidrome
21 February 5.30pm - 7.30pm Nelson Waimea College
22 February 6pm - 8pm Invercargill Rugby Park
25 February 10am - 12pm Dunedin Logan Park
25 February 1pm - 3pm Dunedin Logan Park
26 February 10am - 12pm Christchurch NZIS (Middleton field)
26 February 1pm - 3pm Christchurch NZIS (Middleton field)