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Slew of World Cup stars unavailable as New Zealand prepares for Dubai Sevens

By Online Editors
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens teams for the Dubai Sevens have been named.

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The All Blacks Sevens will be looking to bounce back after a ninth-place finish in their season opener in Hong Kong last month, while Dubai is the first hit out for the Black Ferns Sevens as both teams work towards Olympic qualification.

The All Blacks Sevens team is:

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2. Brady Rush
3. Tone Ng Shiu
4. Akuila Rokolisoa
7. Sam Dickson (C)
9. Amanaki Nicole
10. Kurt Baker
11. Joe Webber
12. Leroy Carter
13. Moses Leo
21. Che Clark
23. Lewis Ormond
49. Caleb Tangitau
64. Regan Ware

Unavailable for selection: Kitiona Vai, Andrew Knewstubb, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia (injury), Dylan Collier, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black (parental leave)

The All Blacks Sevens welcome the return of young star Che Clark and Lewis Ormond from injury and are aiming for an improved performance from Hong Kong.

“We had two weeks to review Hong Kong and see where we went wrong and the coaches put a good plan in place,” said Captain Sam Dickson.

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“We started slow in Hong Kong. We weren’t direct enough and there were silly little things that probably came from not playing in a while. We were happy with how we finished, in our three games on day three we were much more direct and physical – and that has been our focus leading into Dubai.”

Drawn in Pool B for Dubai, the team are set to face Argentina, Fiji and Uruguay in another tough assignment.

“Most pools these days are pretty cut throat, with Argentina and Fiji up first it’s a great test for our group. We had two physical, hard training weeks heading into this so we are up for it and can’t wait for our first game against Argentina,” said Dickson.

The Black Ferns Sevens team is:

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4. Niall Williams
6. Michaela Blyde
7. Tyla Nathan-Wong (C)
8. Kelly Brazier
13. Jazmin Felix-Hotham (VC)
14. Terina Te Tamaki
18. Kelsey Teneti – debut
22. Shiray Kaka
26. Tysha Ikenasio – debut
33. Manaia Nuku – debut
77. Risaleaana Pouri-Lane (VC)
81. Mahina Paul
83. Jorja Miller

Unavailable for selection: Sarah Hirini, Portia Woodman, Stacey Fluhler, Ruby Tui, Theresa Fitzpatrick (Black Ferns), Alena Saili (injury).

The Black Ferns Sevens will be led by Tyla Nathan-Wong, who captained the side the last time they were in Dubai in 2019, and have three debutants in their ranks.

Auckland’s Tysha Ikenasio and Waikato’s Kelsey Teneti and Manaia Nuku will run out for their Black Ferns Sevens debut, while Canterbury youngster Jorja Miller will play in her first World Series tournament after debuting at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in September.

“We’ve got young girls who haven’t experienced the World Series before so the key is not putting any pressure on them, its about going out there, having fun, playing rugby and that will be when we are at our best,” said Nathan-Wong.

Also in Pool B this weekend, the Black Ferns Sevens will come up against Great Britain, Brazil and France.

“Its straight into it for us – no mucking around! We know Great Britain have had a long pre-season bringing those three countries together so that will be a big challenge for us first up. But we love that, it will be a good test to see where we are as a squad.

Dubai Sevens Draw (dates/times listed in NZDT)

Friday 2 December
6:44pm Black Ferns Sevens v Great Britain
7:50pm All Blacks Sevens v Argentina
10:49pm Black Ferns Sevens v Brazil
11:11pm All Blacks Sevens v Fiji

Saturday 3 December
2:44am Black Ferns Sevens v France
4:34am All Blacks Sevens v Uruguay

Sunday 4 December
Play-offs

– New Zealand Rugby

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