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All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens withdraw from World Series

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

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in their first World Sevens Series tournaments since March 2020, the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens have withdrawn from the Spain legs of the 2021-22 campaign due to New Zealand’s MIQ restrictions.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