Black Ferns aim for four in a row at Kitakyushu Sevens

By Machuki Sundaa

New Zealand have gone for a mix of fresh faces and veterans in their bid for a fourth straight HSBC World Series title at the the Kitakyushu Sevens in April.

Chey Robins-Reti who was part of the squad in 2017 has been rewarded with a national team call-up for her impressive performance in the development team. Barely a week after signing a contract with the Black Ferns, 18-year-old Dhys Faleafaga will make her debut for the national side.

For the Japan event, assistant coach Cory Sweeney will take over from head coach Allan Bunting who is on leave for health reasons.

“Both these players were stand-out members of the development team earlier this year and haven’t taken a backwards step,” said Sweeney on “Dhys is in with us full time now and is a player with immense potential. Chey has previously been in our environment and knows what is required on the international stage. We’re excited for both of them.”

Sweeney said the is a good mix of experience and youth.

“It is never nice having players on the sidelines but at the same time, this is an exciting opportunity for those that have been selected. We have strong leaders in this group and believe that this team will be able to go to Japan and perform well,” assistant coach Sweeney said.
Heading to Japan captained by Sarah Hirini are: Shakira Baker, Dhys Faleafaga, Rhiarna Ferris, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Risi Pouri-Lane, Chey Robins-Reti, Alena Saili, Terina Te Tamaki, Ruby Tui. Stacey Waaka, Niall Williams and Tenika Willison.

Notably out of action are Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Huia Harding, Kat Whata-Simpkins and Portia Woodman because of injury.

Going into the fourth leg of the series, the Black Ferns have won all three of the previous outings. With three tournaments to go, New Zealand lead the World Series standings with 60 points.

The Kitakyushu Sevens will be held on April 20-21 at the Mikuni World Stadium Japan. In Pool A, New Zealand will play against France, Russia and hosts Japan.