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Gisborne Girls make the cut

Congratulations to Azalleyah Maaka  and Temaiora Olsen-Baker (Gisborne Girls’ High School) on their selection for the NZ U18 Sevens team trial next month in Wellington

Sevens talent to trial for Youth Olympic Games campaign

Thirty of New Zealand’s best secondary schools sevens talent will vie for places in the New Zealand Under 18 sevens team, at a trial in Wellington next month.

Among the trialists are two current Black Fern Sevens squad members, Risi Pouri-Lane (17) and Jazmin Hotham (17), and has players from 20 schools across 11 Provincial Unions.

The trial squad (with school and Provincial Union) is;

Saphire Abraham Howick College (Auckland)
Kalyn Takitimu Cook Manukura (Manawatu)
Cheyne Copeland St Mary’s College (Wellington)
Carys Dallinger Manukura (Manawatu)
Tiana Davison Sacred Heart Girls’ College (Taranaki)
Princess Elliot Mt Albert Grammar School (Auckland)
Dhys Faleafaga St Mary’s College (Wellington)
Tynealle Fitzgerald Rangiuru Rugby Club (Bay of Plenty)
Jessica Heath Long Bay College (North Harbour)
Tahina Heta Pukekohe High School (Counties Manukau)
Iritana Hohaia Opunake High School (Taranaki)
Jazmin Hotham Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)
Lucy Jenkins St Margaret’s College (Canterbury)
Rosie Kelly Christchurch Girls’ High School (Canterbury)
Emily Kitson Waiuku College (Counties Manukau)
Riscshay Lemanu Papatoetoe High School (Auckland)
Kalisi Longopoa Mt Albert Grammar School (Auckland)
Azalleyah Maaka Gisborne Girls’ High School (Poverty Bay)
Brooke Neilson New Plymouth Girls’ High School (Taranaki)
Temaiora Olsen-Baker Gisborne Girls’ High School (Poverty Bay)
Mahina Paul St Kentigern College (Auckland)
Risaleaana Pouri-Lane (Tasman)
Abigail Roache Mt Albert Grammar School (Auckland)
Ivamere Rokoduna (Livani) Howick College (Auckland)
Shalom Setu-Veve Howick College (Auckland)
Kiani Tahere Te Wharekura o Mauao (Bay of Plenty)
Montessa Tairakena Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)
Arorangi Tauranga Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)
Hinemoa Watene Howick College (Auckland)
Calista Wihone Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)

The team will be coached by former Black Fern Victoria Grant and Peter Nock.

New Zealand Rugby’s High Performance Talent Development Sevens Manager Chad Tuoro said introducing the programme has allowed scouts to identify and grow young talent.

“At the end of last year, we assembled Under 17 and Under 18 squads for the World School Sevens and it was a great opportunity to see a number of these players in action together.

“We’re excited that these campaigns have given young players an opportunity to experience international competition and give them experience in a high performance programme.

“Already we have seen fantastic players like Risi and Jazmin selected into the Black Ferns Sevens programme at only 17 years of age, and that is a great example of the amazing opportunities that are available for our young female players.

“This trial is important as the squad we select will wear the black jersey and could represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games but we are under no illusions that we will have to work hard to get to that point,” said Tuoro.

The group will assemble in Wellington over 9-11 March from which a squad will be selected to prepare for April’s Oceania Rugby Under 18 Sevens Championship in Sydney, where they need to win to be in contention for a place at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in October.