Three uncapped players join sevens squads

Jan 22 • General News, International, National, New Zealand, Sevens Rugby • 554 Views • No Comments on Three uncapped players join sevens squads

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Northland’s Brady Rush, son of All Blacks Sevens legend Eric Rush, is set to follow in his father’s footsteps, joining the All Blacks Sevens squad as a contracted player in 2021.

Rush, along with North Harbour’s Moses Leo and Waikato’s Manaia Nuku are the newcomers to the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens squads, six months out from the Tokyo Olympics.

All three players impressed at December’s Red Bull Ignite7, Rush was named tournament MVP, Leo picked up the Players’ Player of the Tournament while Nuku was also nominated for the Players’ Player award.

Black Ferns Sevens Coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney bring Nuku into an established squad, with 20 of 21 players having international experience.

Nuku had an impressive 2020, the Hamilton Girls’ High School student made her Farah Palmer Cup debut for Waikato and captained the New Zealand Condor Schools sevens team at the World School Sevens in December. She replaces Kayla Ahki in the squad, who returned to France to be with her family last year.

She also joins Shiray Kaka, Tenika Willison, Terina Te Tamaki and Jazmin Hotham as Hamilton Girls’ High School alumni in the national team, making up a quarter of the full squad.

“Manaia is a smart young player with exciting talent. She has great instinct and a strong skill set so we are really looking forward to seeing her grow in our team,” said Sweeney.

All Blacks Sevens Coach Clark Laidlaw said Rush and Leo have the potential to be sevens specialists going forward.

“Brady comes from good pedigree of course; he is relaxed off the field but has a competitive edge on the field. Moses has real resilience; he has gone through some tough years with injuries, but he is a dynamic attacking player. They are both great men and have fit in straight away.”

Rush, made his Mitre 10 Cup debut for Northland in 2020 against Otago, while Moses Leo was involved in the North Harbour wider squad last season. They replace Jacob Ratumaituvuki-Kneepkens who has signed with the Blues and Joe Ravouvou who took a contract in France last year.

Vilimoni Koroi has joined the squad from the Highlanders, the inclusion of Sky Super Rugby players from other clubs will be finalised and announced in coming months.

The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens are both training for their first competitions of the year, held in Tauranga next month.

The All Blacks Sevens will play a series of matches against Tonga and the Black Ferns Sevens team will play internal matches. Plans are underway for an Oceania tournament before the World Series events currently scheduled for London and Paris in May/June.

All Blacks Sevens squad B
Kurt Baker Hawke’s Bay
Dylan Collier Waikato
Scott Curry Bay of Plenty
Sam Dickson Bay of Plenty
Trael Joass Bay of Plenty
Andrew Knewstubb Canterbury
Vilimoni Koroi Otago
Moses Leo North Harbour
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black North Harbour
Tim Mikkelson Waikato
Sione Molia Counties Manukau
Tone Ng Shiu Auckland
Amanaki Nicole Southland
Akuila Rokolisoa Counties Manukau
Brady Rush Northland
Ollie Sapsford Hawke’s Bay
Kitiona Vai Auckland
William Warbrick Bay of Plenty
Regan Ware Bay of Plenty
Joe Webber Bay of Plenty

Black Ferns Sevens squad
Shakira Baker Waikato
Michaela Blyde Bay of Plenty
Kelly Brazier Bay of Plenty
Gayle Broughton Taranaki
Dhys Faleafaga Wellington
Theresa Fitzpatrick Auckland
Stacey Fluhler Waikato
Sarah Hirini Manawatu
Jazmin Hotham Waikato
Shiray Kaka Waikato
Tyla Nathan-Wong Northland
Manaia Nuku Waikato
Mahina Paul Bay of Plenty
Risaleeana Pouri-Lane Bay of Plenty
Cheyelle Robins-Reti Waikato
Alena Saili Bay of Plenty
Terina Te Tamaki Waikato
Ruby Tui Counties Manukau
Niall Williams Auckland
Tenika Willison Waikato
Portia Woodman Northland

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