NZ 7's names their Olympic squads

NZ 7's names their Olympic squads

Olympic experience and youthful excitement bookend the two New Zealand Rugby Sevens teams named for the Paris Olympics next month.

Nine players will become Olympians for the first time, while 15 athletes return with their sights set on another medal-winning performance.

The New Zealand Men’s Rugby Sevens team is;
Leroy Carter
Dylan Collier
Tepaea Cook-Savage
Scott Curry
Fehi Fineanganofo
Andrew Knewstubb
Moses Leo
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black
Tone Ng Shiu
Akuila Rokolisoa
Brady Rush
Regan Ware

Travelling reserves: Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Joe Webber

Scott Curry and Regan Ware are in line for their third Olympic Games, and alongside Dylan Collier are among the most experienced players in the team.

Six players return from the Tokyo campaign where the team won a silver medal, while Leroy Carter, Tepaea Cook-Savage, Fehi Fineanganofo, Moses Leo, Akuila Rokolisoa and Brady Rush all head to their first Olympics Games.

“Selections are always tough; we have had to make a lot of big calls throughout the year already which created healthy competition within the squad and has made our job really hard as coaches,” said Head Coach Tomasi Cama.

“We have a few players that haven’t been to an Olympic Games before, and we want to take that energy to enjoy the occasion. Instead of taking the hurt of the last one we need to be excited about the opportunity to be the first men’s sevens team to win a gold for New Zealand.”

The New Zealand Women’s Rugby Sevens team is;
Michaela Blyde
Jazmin Felix-Hotham
Sarah Hirini
Tyla King
Jorja Miller
Manaia Nuku
Mahina Paul
Risaleeana Pouri-Lane
Alena Saili
Theresa Setefano
Stacey Waaka
Portia Woodman-Wickliffe

Traveling reserves: Tyhsa Ikenasio, Tenika Willison, Kelsey Teneti.

Headlining the women’s team is the remarkable comeback of Sarah Hirini, recovering from an ACL injured sustained in December last year.

Head Coach Cory Sweeney said it is a special moment for Hirini, named for her third Olympic Games.

“We sat down six months ago and knew that it was achievable, but it would be tight. It’s been pretty unbelievable seeing how hard Gossy has worked to get back and we will really ramp up her involvement over the next six weeks.”

Hirini, along with Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, Theresa Setefano and Tyla King are all set for their third Olympic Games, while four players (Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Manaia Nuku, Mahina Paul and Jorja Miller) head to their first.

“Every Olympic cycle has its theme, and this time round we want to stamp our mark on history. We have players who have been here for 12 years and its highly likely it might be their last tournament. On the other end we have some players living out a childhood dream being named for the first time, so we need to channel those emotions.”

NZOC CEO Nicki Nicol extended her congratulations to the athletes.
“We’re thrilled to have two really exciting and experienced rugby sevens teams named for the Paris Olympics,” said Nicol.
“We have a proud history in sevens at the Olympics and we look forward to watching these teams add to that legacy in just over a months-time in Paris.”

Both teams depart for France in early July for a training camp before heading to Paris. The men kick off the Olympics on 24 July, two days before the opening ceremony, with the women taking the field on 28 July.

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