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Black Ferns Sevens: Dubai Preview

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allblacks.com     30 Nov 2017     Getty Images

MAGNIFICANT MICHAELA
Fresh off being named as the women’s sevens player of the year at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco this week, Michaela Blyde will be keen to keep the momentum going with a big performance in Dubai. With 40 tries last season, Blyde is one of the Black Ferns prime attacking weapons. There’s no doubt opposition teams would have studied up on Blyde over the off-season so the speedster will have a big challenge to match her 40 tries from last season.
WELCOME BACK KAYLA
After missing the 2016-17 series due to the birth of her daughter, the Black Ferns Sevens have been boosted by the inclusion of Kayla McAlister for the Dubai tournament. As the fifth-highest try scorer in women’s series history, McAlister adds yet another attacking weapon to the Black Ferns impressive arsenal. 

QUICK TAP: DUBAI SEVENS SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON RUGBY IN MIDDLE EAST

ANZAC DOMINATION
Since officially coming onto the Women’s Sevens Series in 2012, Australia and New Zealand have dominated the Dubai tournament by taking out five titles between them. The Black Ferns Sevens lifted the crown in 2012, 2014 and 2016 while Australia won in 2013 and 2015. Although the ANZAC neighbours have always reigned supreme in Dubai, neither has won back-to-back titles but the Black Ferns Sevens have the chance to change that this weekend.

COACH’ S WORD

Black Ferns Sevens coach Allan Bunting says his side has prepared well and is ready to challenge for the Dubai title: “I don’t think you get a real measure of where you are until this tournament. Coming up against South Africa, France and USA on the first day will be a big test. We are focussed on that first game and then we will get a real measure of where we are at,” Bunting said.
SCHEDULE

Day one (NZT)

Thursday, 10.50pm v South Africa
Friday, 1.46am v France
Friday, 4.43am v USA

Day two
TBC

TEAM

Ruby Tui, Alena Saili, Stacey Waaka, Niall Williams, Sarah Goss (captain), Michaela Blyde, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Gayle Broughton, Kat Whata-Simpkins,Theresa Fitzpatrick, Portia Woodman, Kayla McAlister

WATCH

Coverage will be broadcast on SKY Sport channel 56 from 1.00am NZT, Friday 1 December.