Rugby: COVID-19 border restrictions force NZ Sevens teams out of Spain World Series legs

Black Ferns Sevens celebrate winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics
Black Ferns Sevens celebrate winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics Photo credit: Photosport

The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens will have to wait longer for their return to the World Series, with both sides withdrawing from this month's tournaments in Spain.

COVID-19 restrictions continue to keep both Kiwi teams onshore after missing the opening rounds in Dubai in November-December last year

Their last run on the international circuit was in March last year.

The Government's announcement late last month to delay opening the New Zealand border means the teams would not have been able to re-enter the country after playing.

World Rugby has confirmed the Kiwi teams will be replaced by Germany (men) and Belgium (women), on the same day that the NZ 2022 squads were announced. 

New Zealand Rugby is now looking into domestic tournament options for both sevens sides instead. Both teams have not played since claiming medals in last year's Tokyo Olympics.

"It’s frustrating not being able to travel at the moment but that is out of our control," says All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw. "What we can control is what we do here each day, the players have come back in great spirits and now it's time to crack on."

"We’ll be ready for whenever the borders open and we can travel."

The next event on the World Series calendar is in Vancouver on February 26-27. With four more tournaments to follow in Los Angeles, Singapore, Toulouse, and London.

Black Ferns Sevens 2022 squad: Shakira Baker (Bay of Plenty), Micheala Blyde (Bay of Plenty), Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty), Gayle Broughton (Taranaki), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland), Stacey Fluhler (Waikato), Sarah Hirini (Manawatū), Jaz Hotham (Waikato), Shiray Kaka (Waikato), Jorja Miller (Canterbury), Tyla Nathan-Wong (Northland), Manaia Nuku (Bay of Plenty), Risi Pouri-Lane (Bay of Plenty), Alena Saili (Bay of Plenty), Terina Te Tamaki (Waikato), Kelsey Teneti (Waikato), Ruby Tui (Counties Manukau), Niall Williams (Auckland), Tenika Willison (Waikato), Portia Woodman (Northland).

All Blacks Sevens 2022 squad: Kurt Baker (Hawke's Bay), Leroy Carter (Bay of Plenty), Che Clark (Auckland), Dylan Collier (Waikato), Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), Rhodes Featherstone (Taranaki), Trael Joass (Bay of Plenty), Andrew Knewstubb (Horowhenua Kapiti), Moses Leo (North Harbour), Ngarohi McGarvey-Black (East Coast), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties Manukau), Tone Ng Shiu (Auckland), Amanaki Nicole (Southland), Akuila Rokolisoa (Counties Manukau), Brady Rush (Northland), Roderick Solo (Wellington), Caleb Tangitau (Auckland), Kitiona Vai (Auckland), Regan Ware (Tasman), Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty).