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NZ Sevens squad named

New Zealand Women's Sevens Coach Sean Horan has named his squad of 12 to compete in the first ever IRB Women's Sevens World Series.


The young side includes four capped Black Ferns, two sisters, an age grade football representative, and three provincial representative netballers.

Former Black Fern Huriana Manuel will captain the side. She is joined in the squad by former Black Ferns Carla Hohepa (pictured) who is a former IRB Women's Personality of the Year winner, Lavinia Gould, and Linda Itunu.

Former Mystics netballers Portia Woodman and Kayla McAlister, sister of former All Black Luke McAlister and former Central Pulse midcourter Lauren Burgess have also been named in the team to travel to Dubai. The side includes emerging talent in 18-year olds Tyla Nathan-Wong, and Marama Davis, and 19-year-olds Sarah Goss and Amanda Rasch, a former New Zealand age grade soccer representative. The squad also sees Chyna Hohepa join her older sister Carla, in the team.

The squad includes six players who triumphed in the Oceania tournament in Fiji in August and there are no players taking part in the tour to England named in the squad.

Coach Sean Horan said he was hugely excited about naming the first women's sevens squad to compete in Dubai, the first of four international tournaments on the new Women's Sevens World circuit.

"We have chosen a competitive squad that we know will continue to develop through the Series. To think that some of these women have not played any rugby before last year is incredible. They have shown real determination and dedication to their fitness and skills training to ensure real competition for these 12 spots," Horan said.

"I'm very pleased with the squad. This team is energetic and keen and we're looking forward to the first real test of how we compare with other countries outside the Pacific region," he said.

The New Zealand Women's Sevens squad (* denotes debutants):

Linda Itunu, Carla Hohepa, Amanda Rasch *, Lauren Burgess *, Sarah Goss, Lavinia Gould, Tyla Nathan Wong, Marama Davis *, Huriana Manuel, captain, Chyna Hohepa *, Portia Woodman, Kayla McAlister

IRB Women's Sevens World Series

Round 1 - UAE: Dubai, November 30 - December 1, 2012 - The Sevens Stadium

Round 2 - USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium

Round 3 - China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium

Round 4 - Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium