Young talent picked to defend NZ Women's Sevens Oceania title

Getty Images     03 Oct 2013     Getty Images

The squad is:
Hazel Tubic
Honey Hireme
Halie Hurring
Alexis Tapsell
Sarah Goss (captain)
Kristina Sue
Tyla Nathan-Wong
Hayley Hutana
Crystal Mayes
Selica Winiata
Michaela Blyde
Shiray Tane

Teenagers Hayley Hutana and Michaela Blyde, both aged 17, have been given special dispensation to play in the Oceania Sevens tournament, run under the umbrella of the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions.

Horan said they had deliberately picked new faces into the travelling squad to introduce fresh talent to international competition.

“The new faces Hayley Hutana, Crystal Mayes, Shiray Tane, and Michaela Blyde, were recruitments from the New Zealand Rugby Go4Gold programme, and these players were part of our pre-Houston tournament camp this year. They are definitely fantastic, young and exciting talent.

“While we want to give some of the younger players an opportunity to play in an IRB tournament, we also want to ensure that some of our World Cup players get more game time experience,” he said.

Shiray Tane, 18, came from a touch sporting background. She is currently playing for Waikato in the Women’s Provincial Championship WPC).

Michaela Blyde, who turns 18 in December, is currently playing for Taranaki in the WPC, having come from football playing background.

Another Go4Gold find, Hayley Hutana who turns 18 in November, is playing for Manawatu this year.

The squad leaves for Australia tomorrow where they will look to defend their championship title of last year.

“We are expecting Australia to be tough opposition particularly with a new coach and we know that Fiji are building a strong base too,” Horan said.

The New Zealand Women’s Sevens team departs Auckland International Airport at 9:30am on flight NZ135 Auckland to Brisbane, on Thursday 3 October.

Follow the New Zealand Women's Sevens results on twitter.

For more tournament information click here.

The first tournament of the 2013/14 IRB Women's Sevens World Series takes place in Dubai on 28,29 November.