Image: The New Zealand Women Sevens team at the Dubai Sevens tournament in 2012 / landrovermena / Wikimedia Commons
The 2017-18 Women’s World Sevens Series rugby tournament kicks off on November 30 in Dubai. It’s not just another tournament – it’s a key tune-up for next year’s Commonwealth Games and the Sevens World Cup.
Here are four Black Ferns to keep an eye on (because let’s be honest: Australia winning would be a travesty), as well as an overseas player who could carry her team to the title.
A member of the Black Ferns since 2013, she was one of the stars of this past Women’s Rugby World Cup – and a big reason why the Black Ferns went undefeated on their way to the title. Widely considered to be one of the greatest women’s rugby players ever, expect the wing to score a lot. And even if she doesn’t, her skill means opposing teams often are forced to assign extra players to defend her – freeing up her Black Ferns teammates for scoring opportunities.
Nicknamed “Nizzle,” she helped Aotearoa win silver in women’s rugby sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She’s also an accomplished touch football player, winning the gold medal at the 2005 Youth World Cup and silver at the 2011 Touch Football World Cup. In other words, she’s pretty quick and good at moving around people – a good skill to have in the sevens game where there are fewer players than a regular rugby match and injuries have that much of a greater impact.
Not everyone gets to be captain of the Black Ferns, and Goss has earned it. Just 20 years old when she joined the Black Ferns in 2013, she was a key contributor in the Black Ferns’ successful Women’s Rugby World Cup campaign earlier this year. A forward, she combines with Williams to form a formidable duo that helps to power the Black Ferns’ fierce scrum. Oh, and she also won Best Female Athlete in Oceania at the ANOC (Association of Olympic Committee) Awards in Prague earlier this month.
Playing the halfback position, she’s been a Black Fern since 2012, when she made the sevens squad when she was just 18 years old. So far in her career, she has helped New Zealand win the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Russia, and also took part in the 2016 Summer Olympics. She’s also a member of New Zealand’s national touch rugby team – meaning she, too, is very agile.
Captain of the United States’ women’s sevens team, she was a key reason the US shocked the rugby world by winning the bronze medal at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens. One of the first women ever in the US to be able to be a professional rugby player (and be paid for it), she is also the longest-tenured member of the US sevens squad, and captained the team in the 2016 Summer Olympics. If she has a strong showing in Dubai, the US could be a dark-horse pick to win it all.
But of course it goes without saying… GO BLACK FERNS!!!Support Villainesse