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Tui in NZ women’s sevens group

GREYMOUTH STAR 24th February 2013

Former West Coast woman Ruby Tui has been named in the New Zealand women’s sevens high performance group, and is hoping that it will be a stepping stone to the 2016 Olympics.

The squad of 26 will provide the teams for the remaining two IRB Women’s Sevens World Series tournaments in China (March) and the Netherlands (May), and the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow in June, and ultimately the Olympics.

Coach Sean Horan said he had selected an exciting mix of experienced Black Ferns and young and genuine talent like Tui, who represents Canterbury, to assemble for an assessment camp at the Waiouru Military Training Facility this weekend.

The squad includes 16-year-olds Gayle Broughton and Michaela Blyde from Taranaki, Hayley Hutana from Manawatu and Ariana Hira-Herangi of Waikato and 17-year-old Shiray Tane of Waikato.

“This squad is the result of a very successful Go for Gold recruitment programme which has had fantastic support from provincial unions around the country,” Horan said.

The squad also boasts experience in Selica Winiata, who was the top points scorer at the 2009 sevens World Cup and the tournament’s top try-scorer Carla Hohepa, as well as their team-mates Linda Itunu, Huriana Manuel and Renee Wickliffe.

All five have played for the Black Ferns along with Shakira Baker, Kelly Brazier, Hailie Hurring, and Hazel Tubic.

“We have seen sevens grow in popularity in New Zealand through our work with the provincial unions and we believe we have uncovered some fantastic new talent,” Horan said.

“This weekend camp is the first step to the next phase for these women. The training and preparation will have greater intensify and the players will be asked to step up and work harder.”