Kelly Brazier has joined Portia Woodman in the New Zealand women’s sevens casualty ward ahead of their first tournament on home soil.
The team’s Commonwealth Games try-scoring hero picked up a calf injury which has ruled her out of the invitational Fast Four tournament, to be played alongside the Hamilton Sevens. Woodman is out long-term with an Achilles tendon injury.
Coach Allan Bunting did get some better news on the injury front with veteran midfielder Niall Williams back in the squad, while Manawatu’s Rhiarna Ferris is set to make her debut alongside a strong squad of players.
The team will come up against China, England and France in the tournament.
“We have seen in the way the team has been training that they can’t wait to play in Hamilton. There has been a real edge in how the players have been going about their preparation, so we are looking forward to this weekend,” Bunting said.
Ferris is in line to run out in the black jersey for the first time, having been in the wider squad for more than a year.
“Rhiarna has been knocking on the door for a while now. She is back from injury and we’ve seen what a hard worker she is, bringing her into the team for this tournament is another chance for us to build depth,” Bunting said.
For Shakira Baker, Stacey Waaka and Terina Te Tamaki it is a chance to play in front of a home crowd, the three players all representing Waikato at provincial level.
AT A GLANCE
New Zealand team for Fast Four tournament: Shakira Baker, Michaela Blyde, Gayle Broughton, Rhiarna Ferris, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Sarah Hirini (captain), Tyla Nathan-Wong, Alena Saili, Terina Te Tamaki, Ruby Tui, Stacey Waaka, Katarina Whata-Simpkins, Niall Williams