New and returning faces bolster Black Ferns Sevens

Getty Images     09 Apr 2019     Getty Images

18-year-old Dhys Faleafaga is in line for her debut, one week on from signing a full time contract with the Black Ferns Sevens. 

Chey Robins-Reti, who was a contracted member of the team in 2017, has been recognised for strong performances in the development team with a national call up.

The squad is;

Shakira Baker - Waikato
Dhys Faleafaga - Wellington
Rhiarna Ferris - Manawatu
Sarah Hirini (captain) - Manawatu
Tyla Nathan-Wong - Auckland
Risi Pouri-Lane - Tasman
Chey Robins-Reti - Waikato
Alena Saili - Southland
Terina Te Tamaki - Waikato
Ruby Tui - Bay of Plenty
Stacey Waaka - Waikato
Niall Williams - Auckland
Tenika Willison - Waikato

Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Huia Harding, Kat Whata-Simpkins and Portia Woodman are all unavailable for selection due to injury and illness.

Assistant coach Cory Sweeney will be at the helm of the team for the upcoming tournament, with Head Coach Allan Bunting granted leave for health reasons.

Sweeney said the selected group are a good mix of experience and youth.

“It’s never nice having players on the side-line but at the same time, this is an exciting opportunity for those that have been selected.

“We have strong leaders in this group and believe that this team will be able to go to Japan and perform well,” said Sweeney.
After strong performances for the Black Ferns Sevens development team in recent months, Faleafaga and Robins-Reti will make the step up to international honours and Sweeney said they have been impressive since joining the squad.

“Both these players were stand out members of the development team earlier this year and haven’t taken a backwards step. Dhys is in with us full time now and is a player with immense potential. Chey has previously been in our environment and knows what is required on the international stage. We’re excited for both of them.”

The Black Ferns Sevens currently lead the World Series standings, winning the first three tournaments of the season, with three remaining.

“A good result in Japan will go a long way in securing that Olympic Qualifying berth which has been the big goal this season.”

The Black Ferns Sevens take on Russia, France and hosts Japan in pool play at the Kitakyushu tournament on 20 and 21 April.