NZ Women's Sevens unbeaten in Atlanta7s pool play

Sarah Goss     16 Feb 2014     Sarah Goss

After putting away England 14-5 in their third and final fixture at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, at Kennesaw State University, the ‘Sisters’ will face Japan in the quarter-finals tomorrow (7:06am NZT).

There was little left of the record snow storm that closed Atlanta training fields and confined teams to their hotels heading into the tournament.

The New Zealanders’ big guns were all fired, with Kayla McAlister, Taranaki debutant Michaela Blyde and Portia Woodman crossing the try line to beat the Netherlands 21-0 in New Zealand’s first match today.

Next up was Ireland, who frustrated the ‘Sisters’ with their tenacious defence before Taranaki teenager and Gayle Broughton marked her debut tournament by crossing in the third minute.

Selica Winiata, Woodman, Sarah Goss and Blyde all dotted down to secure their victory, before the Irish Women had the final say with a converted try to Nicole Caughey.

After beating the Dutch and Irish, England set the scene for a decider pool match against New Zealand. New Zealand Coach Sean Horan maintained his same starting line-up against the younger English side.

Carla Hohepa scored early in the second minute, but Winiata’s conversion was the only other score in what was an arm-wrestle with the determined English.

Danielle Waterman crossed for the Red Rose in the fourth minute after the break to set up a nail biting close, before Taranaki’s 17-year-old Broughton scored with just a couple of minutes left on the clock to secure the match.

Horan said the team had some pent up energy and nerves after a week of indoor training.

“We shook off the cobwebs of the first game and we played pretty well against Ireland. We worked on some key points we wanted … and we executed pretty well. The last game on day one is always pretty much close to a final and I was pretty pleased with how the girls went about their business and came away with a win.”

Hear more post-match comments from Sean Horan below.

In other matches Canada proved to be in imposing form, proceeding unbeaten with wins over the host nation, China and Australia, while Russia was also undefeated with triumphs over Japan, Brazil and Spain.

Australia leads the series with 20 points, two ahead of the defending champions.

Broadcast: The tournament will be streamed live online on

Atlanta 7s match schedule - 15 & 16 February (16 & 17 February NZT)
Fifth-Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University

15 February

21-0 V Netherlands (HT 7-0)
36-7 V Ireland (HT 19-0)
14-5 V England (HT 7-0)

16 February

v Japan 1:06pm (7:06am NZT, 17 February)

The team for Atlanta and Sao Paulo tournaments:

Linda Itunu (Auckland)
Carla Hohepa (Auckland)
Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau)
Jordan Webber (Waikato)
Sarah Goss (Manawatu)
Gayle Broughton (Taranaki)
Tyla Nathan Wong (Auckland)
Micheala Blyde (Taranaki)
Huriana Manuel (Auckland)
Selica Winiata (Manawatu)
Portia Woodman (Auckland)
Kayla McAlister (Auckland)

Unavailable for selection to due to injury/illness are:

Ruby Tui (knee)
Kelly Brazier (hip)
Vaine Grieg (knee)
Honey Hireme (illness)
Alexis Tapsell (concussion)

IRB Women’s Sevens World Series

2013/2014 standings: Australia (20), New Zealand (18), Russia (16), Canada (14), England (12), Spain (10)

Dubai, UAE: 28, 29 November 2013 (Won by Australia)
Atlanta, USA: 15, 16 February 2014
Sao Paulo, Brazil: 21, 22 February 2014
Guangzhou, China: 5, 6 April 2014
Amsterdam, Netherlands: 16, 17 May 2014

Snapshot – New Zealand Women’s Sevens

June 2013 – crowned World Champions of Sevens at Moscow World Cup, defeating Canada 29-12 in final
May 2013 – winner of inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
New Zealand players awarded women’s sevens top honours:
Kayla McAlister – IRB Player of the Year 2013
Portia Woodman – IRB Player of the 2013 World Cup
Around 1000 women from many different sports trialled for the New Zealand Women’s Seven’s Olympic campaign in 2012
Women’s sevens is a fast growing sport in New Zealand – 10 teams competed in the recent National Sevens tournament

For more information on the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series go to

For more on the New Zealand Women’s Sevens team visit and, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @NZ7s.