Cory Sweeney, the Black Ferns sevens head coach will have to make some hard cuts for the Olympic Games final line up.
The All Blacks and Black Ferns, New Zealand teams will have to be cut down to 16 players from next week. Sweeney has been reported to have said that he will use the most famous comeback story to keep everyone in the team on their toes.
“Everyone has an important role to play. I keep using the Stephen Donald World Cup scenario. He wasn’t selected [but] got called up and had a massive moment to play,” Sweeney said in an interview.
This will mean some hard conversations with the players who will have to stay home and sit out, a disappointing blow for most as they have come so near yet, failed to get a shot at their Olympic dream.
Both New Zealand squad missed out on the gold medal in the last Olympic Games in Rio back in 2016. Since then both teams have been working hard to make sure this does not happen again, specially with the Black Ferns. The New Zealand ladies suffered a devastating loss as they fell to the Australians at the Olympic finals, having to settle for a silver medal after their less than expected performance.
Since then both teams have topped two major tournaments, World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in 2018. The pandemic unfortunately cut the World Series shot as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the world.
“One of the best and worst parts of coaching is picking players and then not. It’s never nice. We’ve all been there before,” said Laidlaw.
“Akuila Rokolisoa flew in on the Monday, having never played for the team before, and then played there and at the World Cup, but that’s life. You’ve got to be ready for your opportunity,” Laidlaw said.
New Zealand squads for Oceania Sevens
All Blacks sevens: Kurt Baker, Caleb Clarke, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Trael Joass, Andrew Knewstubb, Vilimoni Koroi, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole, Akuila Rokolisoa, William Warbrick, Regan Ware, Joe Webber, Kitiona Vai.
Black Ferns sevens: Shakira Baker, Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Dhys Faleafaga, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Stacey Fluhler, Sarah Hirini, Jazmin Hotham, Shiray Kaka, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili, Terina Te Tamaki, Ruby Tui, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison, Portia Woodman.