Injury forces NZ women's Sevens change
Auckland's Tiana Ngawati has been called into the New Zealand's Women's Sevens squad currently assembled to prepare for the opening round of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series in Dubai next week.
Ngawati replaces 19-year-old Amanda Rasch of North Harbour, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in training yesterday.
A a former New Zealand age grade soccer representative, Rasch was one of the 'cross-over' athletes in the squad and Sean Horan's young side still features a blend of four Black Ferns and three more cross-over athletes from representative netball.
Former Black Fern Huriana Manuel will captain the side and is joined in the squad by three other former Black Ferns, Carla Hohepa, Lavinia Gould and Linda Itunu.
Former Mystics netballers Portia Woodman and Kayla McAlister, sister of former All Black Luke, and former Central Pulse midcourter Lauren Burgess have also been named in the team to travel to Dubai.
The side also includes emerging talent in 18-year olds Tyla Nathan-Wong and Marama Davis, and 19-year-old Sarah Goss. The squad also sees Chyna Hohepa join her older sister Carla.
Six of the squad were involved in the side that triumphed at the Oceania Sevens tournament in Fiji in August.
"We have chosen a competitive squad that we know will continue to develop through the Series," said Horan. "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.
"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.
New Zealand Women's Sevens squad: Linda Itunu, Carla Hohepa, Tiana Ngawati, 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
Rugby World Cup Sevens, Moscow, 28 - 30 June 2013