Tokyo Olympics 2021: Experienced Black Ferns Sevens squad named for Games

  • 02/07/2021

An experienced 12-strong Black Ferns Sevens squad has been named to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this month.

The team features seven players from their silver medal-winning campaign at Rio 2016, while Shiray Kaka and Michaela Blyde were traveling reserves in 2016. 

Risaleaana Pouri-Lane has a different Olympic experience, captaining New Zealand to a gold medal at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games in 2018.

Ranked No.1 in the world, the team have been dominant over the past four years, winning 16 of 22 World Series tournaments, the Sevens World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold.

"The internal competition we have has really driven this group," says co-coach Alan Bunting. 

"We've got a spine that operates really well who we have massive faith in, but then we've got these great young players and players, I describe as hidden warriors, who have been doing a lot of work that you don’t really hear much about. 

"It's the drive from all our players to make this squad that has made some of these decisions really tough."

The team is fresh off another impressive showing at the Oceania Sevens in Townsville last weekend, where they went undefeated on their way to gold.

"We've had to evolve... we simplified our game and narrowed our focus," Bunting adds.

"The next step is the Olympics and that's what a lot of these players have been dreaming of since 2016."

The women will compete in Pool A against Russia OC, Great Britain and Kenya, with competition starting on July 29.

New Zealand Women’s Rugby Sevens team: Portia Woodman, Sarah Hirini (capt), , Ruby Tui, Tyla Nathan Wong, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Stacey Fluhler, Michaela Blyde, Alena Saili, Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Shiray Kaka

Travelling reserves: Tenika Willison, Jazmin Hotham, Terina Te Tamaki

Non-travelling reserves: Dhys Faleafaga, Shakira Baker, Cheyelle Robins-Reti, Manaia Nuku & Mahina Paul