World and Commonwealth Games Sevens Champions New Zealand want Oceania title too
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 01: Shakira Baker of New Zealand is tackled by Lucy Mulhall of Ireland during day one of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens - HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series on December 1, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

The current World and Commonwealth Games Sevens Champions New Zealand, want to add the Oceania title to their current title.

Both the New Zealand teams heading up to Fiji will be out to add the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship titles to their already impressive Trophy cabinet. The men’s and women’s teams hold titles from their successful Rugby World Cup Sevens and Commonwealth Games win.

So while it has already been a tremendous calendar year, like any of the great Kiwi teams; across the Gordon Tietjens years til now, they are challenged by retaining top-place at the 7s table. It will be up to others to knock them down – with their hosts showing that, where Fiji names strong squads to take on the men and the Black Ferns ‘development squad’.

The Oceania Sevens will be held at the ANZ Stadium in Suva, Fiji from November 9.

World and Commonwealth Games Sevens Champions New Zealand want Oceania title too

The Black Ferns Sevens have named three senior players to lead the young and upcoming stars. Shakira Baker (see main photo), Huia Harding, and Terina Te Tamaki have all featured for the Black Ferns Sevens.

All Blacks Sevens stalwarts Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Tim Mikkelson, and Dylan Collier will lead the Kiwis in Suva. Also, in the squad will be three players with ties to Fiji; Jo Ravouvou, Amanaki Nicole and Luke Masirewa.

Scott Gregory of Northland and Taylor Hugh of Otago will be debuting for the Kiwis at the Oceania Sevens. They come in for squad members who returned from Mitre 10 Cup duties.

Now, with the goal of preparing for the upcoming first leg of the men’s Sevens Series, the second stop on the Women’s circuit, the Commonwealth Games Sevens Champions Black Ferns 7s group are pooled with hosts Fijiana, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands.

On the other side of the dual tournament, the All Blacks 7s will be battling Nauru and New Caledonia in pool play – aiming to match Fiji or Australia, in the knockout stages Saturday.

Head coaches thought’s on the Teams

All Blacks Sevens head coach Clark Laidlaw speaking to allblacks.com. “This tournament presents a good opportunity for some of our younger players to step up with a number of our senior boys not playing.

“It also builds depth by giving players a crack at this level.”

Black Ferns Sevens development coach Crystal Kaua told allblacks.com spoke of how the most critical steps can be made at tournaments like this.

“Our job in this development team is to get this group of players that are behind the fully contracted squad ready to transition into that space. It really is a stepping stone to that Black Ferns Sevens squad.

“We have already seen players graduate from this team into full-time contracts.”

The real test will be acclimatizing. The humidity is quite different from the desert of Dubai, although adjusting to the conditions is important. For the men, they play in Dubai, followed by Cape Town.

All Blacks Sevens squad:

  • Jordan Bunce
  • Dylan Collier
  • Scott Curry
  • Sam Dickson
  • Scott Gregory
  • Taylor Haugh
  • Trael Joass
  • Luke Masirewa
  • Tim Mikkelson
  • Tone Ng Shiu
  • Amanaki Nicole
  • Ngarohi McGarvey-Black
  • Joe Ravouvou
  • Andrew Knewstubb

Black Ferns Sevens Development team:

  • Shakira Baker
  • Kendall Buckingham
  • Huia Harding
  • Talei Kidd
  • Rina Paraone
  • Mahina Paul
  • Chey Reti
  • Leanna Ryan
  • Kennedy Simon
  • Susana Sotutu
  • Grace Steinmetz
  • Terina Te Tamaki
  • Janna Vaughan

2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship draw:

Friday November 9
  • 11.21am Black Ferns 7s Development v New Caledonia
  • 2.30pm Black Ferns 7s Dev v Cook Islands
  • 4.36pm All Blacks 7s v Nauru
  • 5.39pm Black Ferns 7s Dev v Fiji
  • 7.45pm All Blacks 7s v New Caledonia
Saturday November 10

The men’s teams enter the knockout phase, with the winners of each pool playing the runner-ups. The Commonwealth Games Sevens Champions might be aiming high, it is still important to take all the opposition seriously….if they wish to walk away with another title in 2018.

In the women’s draw, the Championship semifinals are in the middle of the day, which will require teams to be fully prepared. Fijiana, Australia will be an important stage, so for this development team it is a great test.

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Follow your Rugby Sevens guru Jovilisi Waqa, as he covers every step of the men’s and women’s World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as coverage of the game in the Pacific.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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