15 Jan 2019

Three teenagers named in Black Ferns Sevens squad

5:30 pm on 15 January 2019

Three teenagers have been named to make the step up to the New Zealand Women's Rugby Sevens' squad for 2019.

Black Ferns Sevens win in Dubai 2018.


Jazmin Hotham and Montessa Tairakena of Waikato and Mahina Paul of Bay of Plenty have finished their schooling and moved to the High Performance Sevens centre in Mt Maunganui as part of the 21-strong Black Ferns Sevens squad for 2019.

Coach Allan Bunting said the three teenagers had already impressed.

"They are three players with massive potential.

"We are looking towards Tokyo [2020 Olympics] at the moment, but these are the sorts of players that can look towards the 2024 Olympics and beyond.

"All three were involved in the Youth Olympic Games set up which gives us more opportunities to see them play but more importantly give them the opportunity to get out on the field, to train and get quality coaching.

"We'll look to develop them this year, we play a lot of in-house matches and that will be great experience for these players."

Hotham was involved in the Black Ferns Sevens set up in 2018 on a training contract and was originally named to captain the Youth Olympic Games sevens team before withdrawing due to injury.

Fellow Hamilton Girl's High School graduate Tairakena captained the Hamilton Girls High 1st XV to a national title in September before starring in the gold medal-winning Youth Olympic Games' team.

Paul, also a member of that team, previously represented New Zealand in touch. Originally from Whakatane, Paul completed her schooling at Saint Kentigern in Auckland.

Allan Bunting, head coach, New Zealand Women's Rugby Sevens team the Black Ferns Sevens.


With more than half of the squad under the age of 24, it is balanced with some of the most experienced players in the women's game.

Captain Sarah Hirini (nee Goss), Tyla Nathan-Wong, Kelly Brazier and Ruby Tui have played in every World Series since its inception in 2012. Hirini is the most capped player in the history of the series.

"There is a really good bunch of experienced players and now this younger group of new players that add real excitement to the mix.

"This year we need to qualify for Tokyo. We have started the season well but that just means more eyes are on us.

"The first focus is Hamilton, which is awesome for us to play at home for the first time and you can see all the players can't wait to get there."

Bunting said 2019 training contracts would be offered to players after this week's development trial. Those players would be involved in the development team programme and train alongside the Black Ferns Sevens' squad for 50 days throughout the year.

The Black Ferns Sevens squad is;

Shakira Baker Waikato

Michaela Blyde Bay of Plenty

Kelly Brazier Bay of Plenty

Gayle Broughton Taranaki

Rhiarna Ferris Manawatu

Theresa Fitzpatrick Auckland

Huia Harding Waikato

Sarah Hirini (nee Goss) Manawatu

Jazmin Hotham * Waikato

Tyla Nathan Wong Auckland

Mahina Paul* Bay of Plenty

Risi Pouri-Lane Tasman

Alena Saili Southland

Montessa Tairakena* Waikato

Terina Te Tamaki Waikato

Ruby Tui Bay of Plenty

Stacey Waaka Waikato

Kat Whata-Simpkins Wellington

Niall Williams Auckland

Tenika Willison Waikato

Portia Woodman Counties Manukau

New Zealand have won the first two rounds of the World Series with the next round in Sydney in early February.

Before then they will play four exhibition games at the Hamilton leg of the Men's World Series at the end of the month.