This is the first time an HSBC Women’s World Sevens Series tournament has been held in Japan and helps serves as preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where rugby sevens will feature.
The 12-strong side features three changes from the team that won last month’s Las Vegas tournament, with Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga called into the starting line-up, while 17-year-old Lyric Faleafaga joins the squad for the first time as a travelling reserve with Tenika Willison.
The team is:
Sarah Goss (Captain) - Manawatu
Michaela Blyde - Bay of Plenty
Kelly Brazier - Bay of Plenty
Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga - Manawatu
Theresa Fitzpatrick - Auckland
Tyla Nathan-Wong - Auckland
Cheyelle Robins-Reti - Waikato
Alena Saili - Southland
Ruby Tui - Canterbury
Kat Whata-Simpkins - Wellington
Niall Williams - Auckland
Portia Woodman - Counties Manukau
Lyric Faleafaga Wellington
Tenika Willison Waikato
Black Ferns Sevens Head Coach Allan Bunting said keeping the core of the series- leading squad together was important while also creating opportunities for up-and-coming talent.
“We’re still focused on consistency and continuity, so we’ve kept most of the squad from Las Vegas. We’ve brought in a couple of new players and Rebekah comes back after missing out the last couple of tournaments.
“Rebekah’s had a couple of work-ons this series and she’s worked really hard at her game and is making good progress so has been rewarded with selection.”
Seventeen-year-old St Mary’s College Wellington final year student Lyric Faleafaga joins the team for the first time and will experience the international tournament environment in the travelling reserve role.
“This is about Lyric’s development plan, she’s young, has special talent and at 1.8 meters tall has real height. We’re really excited about her future so it’s all about giving her experiencing in the international tournament environment and personal growth for her.”
Schedule for Black Ferns Sevens pool play:
Saturday 22nd April 2017
3.20pm NZT v Japan
6.05pm NZT v France
8.48pm NZT v Russia
Sunday 23rd April 2017
Information on World Rugby HSBC Kitakyushu Women’s World Sevens Series Tournament