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All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens withdraw from World Series

By Alex McLeod
Photo: Kenji Demura / www.photosport.nz

Neither of New Zealand’s two national sevens teams, the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens, will participate in next month’s World Sevens Series tournaments in Spain.

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Despite plans for both teams to compete in their first World Sevens Series tournaments since March 2020, the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens have withdrawn from the Spain legs of the 2021-22 campaign due to New Zealand’s MIQ restrictions.

The New Zealand Government has delayed the re-opening of its borders until at least late February, which has proved to be too big a hurdle to overcome for both sides given the Malaga and Seville tournaments kick-off at the end of this month.

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Confirmation of New Zealand’s withdrawal from both the men’s and women’s World Sevens Series tournaments comes on the same day that the 2022 All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens squads were announced.

New Zealand’s withdrawal from those competitions also falls in the same year that both teams are scheduled to defend their Commonwealth Games title between July and August.

The Tokyo Olympics silver and gold medal winners will then defend their Sevens World Cup titles in Cape Town in September.

All Blacks Sevens head coach Clark Laidlaw has subsequently been left frustrated by the lack of international competition in the lead-up to this year’s two major events.

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“It’s frustrating not being able to travel at the moment but that is out of our control,” he said via a statement.

“What we can control is what we do here each day, the players have come back in great spirits and now its time to crack on, we’ll be ready for whenever the borders open and we can travel.”

New Zealand Rugby is now investigating domestic competition options for both the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens while the borders remain shut.

2022 All Blacks Sevens squad

Kurt Baker, Leroy Carter, Che Clark, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Rhodes Featherstone, Trael Joass, Andrew Knewstubb, Moses Leo, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole, Akuila Rokolisoa, Brady Rush, Roderick Solo, Caleb Tangitau, Kitiona Vai, Regan Ware, Joe Webber

2022 Black Ferns Sevens squad

Shakira Baker, Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Stacey Fluhler, Sarah Hirini, Jaz Hotham, Shiray Kaka, Jorja Millar, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Manaia Nuku, Risi Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili, Terina Te Tamaki, Kelsey Teneti, Ruby Tui, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison, Portia Woodman

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M
Morne 9 hours ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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