Current and recent school players featured in the squads, from left: Niko Jones (St Peter's College), Rosie Kelly (Christchurch GHS), Lincoln McClutchie (Hastings BHS) and Renee Savai'inaea (St Mary's College). Photos: Andy McArthur.
Nationally ranked sprinters, provincial netballers, age-grade AFL stars, and New Zealand Secondary Schools rugby representatives are among the 96 players named to take part in the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 event this November.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) today unveiled the 48 men and 48 women who have been selected to take part in a new high-performance programme designed to uncover the next generation of sevens superstars.
More than 500 applicants from Invercargill to Kerikeri signed up for an event that will see three men and three women win the chance to train with the All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens squads in 2019.
Among the women’s players selected are a pair better known for their provincial netball feats in Renee Savai'inaea and Mererangi Paul, former New Zealand Universities hockey player Grace Steinmetz, and Taranaki women’s senior basketball guard Iritana Hohaia.
The ranks of the men’s squads include 2017 New Zealand Under 18 AFL Player of the Year Carlos Donnell-Brown, New Zealand’s second fastest senior 400m runner Thomas Woods, former junior Warriors rugby league fullback Mark Graham, and 2018 New Zealand Secondary Schools loose forward Niko Jones.
NZR High Performance Sevens Manager Tony Philp said the selection process had provided a valuable and encouraging glimpse into New Zealand’s untapped pool of athletic talent.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the quality and variety of athletes who came forward and that made it a tough group to select,” Philp said. “It’s a very diverse group in terms of their backgrounds and sporting talents and it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly they can transfer those skills to sevens at the highest level.”
Philp and his team of selectors have split the players into eight squads (four men’s and four women’s) for the event, with Team Power, Team Surge, Team Inferno and Team Bolt competing for the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 trophy.
The teams are:
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand