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Strong New Zealand travelling squads named for Dubai and Cape Town SVNS

By Finn Morton
The Black Ferns and All Blacks Sevens lift their World Series Toulouse trophies in 2023. (Picture: World Rugby).

For both of New Zealand’s beloved sevens sides, winning is ingrained in their culture.  The desire and expectation to do the black jersey justice has historically seen these two teams thrive on the international stage.

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Last season’s world champion Black Ferns and All Blacks Sevens sides will be as hungry as ever to begin their title defences with a strong start in Dubai and Cape Town next month.

The Black Ferns Sevens have dominated the women’s competition since its inception, with the New Zealanders capturing seven of 10 World Series crowns. They’ve only failed to go back-to-back or better on one occasion too.

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Australia have claimed the other three World Series titles in 2015/16, 2017/18 and 2021/22. They can’t have been happy with how last season played out either, so the Aussies will be coming for their Trans-Tasman foe after gruelling pre-season.

The Olympics aren’t that far away, too. But the new-look SVNS series presents players with an opportunity to entice, entertain and thrill like never before.

Rising star Jorja Miller, who recently signed the first four-year deal by a female rugby player in New Zealand, will be eager to win more silverware along with her ‘sisters’ – as the team affectionally refers to one another.

World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year finalist Michaela Blyde is another threat out wide, while the world’s best Tyla Nathan-Wong will be raring to go after a brief stint in NRLW with St George.

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Sarah Hirini, Stacey Waaka, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe and Shiray Kaka are another world-class quartet that will be counting down the days until the Dubai leg of the series at the start of next month.

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Kelly Brazier, Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Manaia Nuku, Mahina Paul, Risaleaana Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili and Tenika Willison have also been picked in the touring squad for Dubai and Cape Town.

As for the All Blacks Sevens, they’re in exactly the same boat as their countrywomen. The men’s team have only failed to go back-to-back or better on one occasion.

The Kiwis brought an end to their second-long World Series title drought season as they edged emerging powerhouse Argentina, but defending your crown is what makes champions great.

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Leroy Carter and Akuila Rokolisoa both headline the squad after receiving nominations for the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year honour, which was named at the World Rugby Awards in Paris.

But the experienced trio of Scott Curry, Sam Dickson and Tim Mikkelson is where this team gets really interesting. Throw Regan Ware in there, too – this is a team stacked with depth.

While there’s no Payton Spencer in this squad, the All Blacks Sevens have picked plenty of talent in Che Clark, Tepaea Cook-Savage, Fehi Fineanganofo, Moses Leo, Sione Molia, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black and Codemeru Vai.

But the absence of Dylan Collier, who captained the All Blacks Sevens in the absence of other leaders for a period last season, is certainly a talking point.

Here are the women’s and men’s travelling squad to take on the rugby sevens world in Dubai and Cape Town.

Black Ferns Sevens

Kelly Brazier, Michaela Blyde, Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Sarah Hirini, Shiray Kaka, Jorja Miller, Manaia Nuku, Mahina Paul, Risaleaanna Pouri-Lane, Aleena Saili, Stacey Waaka, Tenika Willison, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe

All Blacks Sevens

Leroy Carter, Che Clark, Tepaea Cook-Savage, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Fehi Fineanganofo, Moses Leo, Sione Molia, Tim Mikkelson, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Akuila Rokolisoa, Codemeru Vai, Regan Ware

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Rugby 1 hours ago
How Queensland Reds can spark Schmidt's Wallaby revolution

interesting. I did see last year Queensland and Brad Thorn use some bokke moves like the 6-2 bench and a move the bulls did in bringing back the tap and go from 5 out instead of the line out and maul. There can be many errors in a lineout, you loose control esp. if ref calls a borderline not straight, jumping across line, etc etc it is out of your control, then the maul, a few rules can mess you up again in the eyes of a ref, or others, you lose control. At least in a tap and go you control the move and the play, just have to 1. catch the ball and 2 watch the jackling from opposition, 3 watch being held up over try line. WAY to go I reckon. *2024. Tap and go 5 meters out.* The axis is key for Queensland, Wallabies and any union team. Get it right and there is magic. Lynagh McDermott (great cricket name) Wilson So Joe Schmidt will be watching and the Pacific Lions coaches are in Melbourne watching, poach city. I think if Q can get the Kiss of life not the Kiss of death they may well unlock that stacked backline. Vunivalu is improving. Kiss (and Brad Davis, Jonathan Fisher, Zane Hilton and Dale Roberson) and the progressive attacking style may work. He loves coaching. No pressure. Hell he knows the Bokke and Ireland, and time with ulster. Based on his league past he will understand how to break this flat line. He is a hands on skill set coach. One thing I am still waiting to see in union is the skill often shown in league, when 5 meters out they can *kick into the post* get the deflection and wrong foot opposition to score. Good Luck Queensland, hope you do well. They have the Hurricanes next Bula

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