Sevens women face early test from France

Lynn McConnell     06 Feb 2015    

New Zealand won the first leg of the seven event series with a last gasp win over Australia in the Dubai final.

That was after having to overcome a determined effort by France in their semi-final, and France are in New Zealand's pool in Sao Paulo.

The United States and Japan round out the pool which New Zealand captain Sarah Goss said made it 'quite a tough pool'.

While New Zealand will go into the round without Honey Hireme, Carla Hohepa and Alexis Tapsell due to injuries they have still got an experienced team.

Goss said every player who has played before have performed well and they were still an experienced team. Auckland's Charlotte Scanlan is the only new contracted player, but she has tournament experience from when she played in Dubai.

Goss said that while New Zealand have started the series with a win, they would keep playing in their usual style.

"We will support our good players and attempt to create space for our strike players out wide," she said.

New Zealand's players ranked among some of the fastest in the game while the added facet they enjoyed was their ability with footwork, she said.

Leading into the tournament, which starts on Sunday (NZT), Goss said the side would be concentrating on gelling their game and getting everything right over the next couple of days.

While it was less than 18 months out from the Olympic Games to be hosted up the road in Rio de Janiero, Goss said the side couldn't start thinking about that.

"We've got to qualify first and we can do that by finishing in the first four in this year's series," she said.

When this latest round is completed the New Zealand side would have two days in Rio de Janiero to whet their appetite for the Olympics by having a look at the venue for the Sevens and also the Olympic Village and that should provide an extra incentive ahead of the third round to be played in Atlanta on March 14-15.

New Zealand's opening game is against the United States, followed by Spain and ending with France.