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Black Ferns Sevens unveil wider squad

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/01/2017

© Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images Eight newcomers have been included in the group of players contracted to the Black Ferns Sevens in 2017.

The group who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics comprise a large chunk of new coach Allan Bunting's 20-strong squad which will contest the remainder of the women's world series.

New Zealand began the series with victory in the opening leg at Dubai in December.

The only players from Rio not included are Kayla McAlister and Huriana Manuel.

The team will be captained again by Sarah Goss.

Bunting was impressed by the talent on show at the national championships last week, making the final selections difficult.

"But we are lucky because they are delivering quality rugby players which will make coaching the squad easier," he said.

Among the eight new faces is Renee Wickliffe, who was part of the victorious Counties Manukau side.

Bunting said every player named has the capability to go through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Two of the players are handed training contracts, including Wellington's Lyric Faleafaga, who is still to complete her final year at St Marys College.

Round two of the six-leg series is in Sydney on February 3-4.

BLACK FERNS SEVENS SQUAD

Sarah Goss (capt), Shakira Baker, Michaela Blyde, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga, Lyric Faleafaga, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Crystal Mayes, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Cheyelle Robins-Reti, Alena Saili, Terina Te Tamaki, Ruby Tui, Stacey Waaka, Katarina Whata-Simpkins, Renee Wickliffe, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison, Portia Woodman.

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