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Extra incentive for Black Ferns Sevens

Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

    20 Apr 2019     Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

They go into the fourth of their six HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series' with a chance of breaking their own record for most consecutive wins, a record set between April 2014 and May 2015.

They are one short of the 37 they require and on the first day of the tournament they face Japan (3.20pm –NZT), Russia (5.42pm) and France (8.26pm).

It is a tougher challenge than usual for the Black Ferns who are without last year's player of the year Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton and Theresa Fitzpatrick due to injury or illness.

Captain Sarah Hirini said she was looking forward to the debuts of Rhiarna Ferris and 18-year-old Dhys Faleafaga and the return of Chey Robins-Reti.

"It is different and everyone is talking about how new it is," Hirini said.

"But for us we have been training together for a long time now, these girls have been in our programme for ages, they know exactly what is expected of them. For us older ones that have been around for a while, it is actually just about helping them and easing them into that world series culture.

"It is going to be amazing for them to get this opportunity this weekend because I can't wait for the rest of the world to see how much talent they have and how hard they have been working over the last couple of months," she said.

Hirini said her side hadn't talked about the record run.

"That is quite crazy, I didn't actually know about it until the other day. For us, we haven't really talked about that. We have only talked about us, and making sure that we are continually putting out good performances because that is what is important for us.

"Obviously, we hope that success comes with that but we have been working really hard since Sydney to make sure that we are continuing to lift our game and make sure that rugby as a whole is continuing to improve because that is probably the most important thing for us," she said.

With the pressure building to secure the top four places for next year's Olympics other sides are also introducing new players. Canada share third place on the standings with Australia and have an interesting prospect in Keyara Wardley, a member of Canada's bronze medal winning side at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last year.

Also making her return to Canada's side is 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist Karen Paquin, who is making her first series appearance since Clermont-Ferrant in 2016.