Glenn Moore has announced the New Zealand squad to compete in the Super Series in San Diego at the end of the month.
Like the French squad it is 30 strong:
Forne Burkin Canterbury*
Luka Connor Bay of Plenty*
Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (23 caps) Counties Manukau
Phillipa Love (7) Canterbury
Toka Natua (16) Waikato
Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (29) Auckland
Leilani Perese (5) Counties Manukau
Olivia Ward-Duin North Harbour*
Eloise Blackwell (37) Auckland
Karli Faneva Bay of Plenty*
Joanah Ngan-Woo Wellington*
Charmaine Smith (21) Auckland
Les Elder (Captain, 13) Bay of Plenty
Charmaine McMenamin (19) Auckland
Marcelle Parkes (2) Wellington
Kennedy Simon Waikato*
Pia Tapsell North Harbour*
Kendra Cocksedge (Co-vice captain, 47) Canterbury
Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu Counties Manukau*
Chelsea Alley (18) Waikato
Kelly Brazier (37) Bay of Plenty
Krysten Cottrell (5) Hawke’s Bay
Ruahei Demant (2) Auckland
Theresa Fitzpatrick (9) Auckland
Carla Hohepa (19) Waikato
Ayesha Leti-I’iga (3) Wellington
Natahlia Moors (1) Auckland
Alena Saili (2) Southland
Renee Wickliffe (35) Bay of Plenty
Selica Winiata (Co-vice captain, 36) Manawatu
* new caps
Aldora Itunu was a late cry-off with a knee injury.
As usual, the vast majority of the players hail from North Island.
Needless to say, this is a formidable line-up. It has two interesting features: first, Moore has gone for the permitted maximum size of squad. We are left wondering why England and the USA are still making do with 28 for such a punishing schedule; second, three players, Kelly Brazier Alena Saili and Theresa Fitzpatrick, come hotfoot from the Biarritz Sevens. So the New Zealand approach continues to disregard the trend towards a total separation of 7s and 15s squads. And it’s not as if they don’t have the player-pool to do so.
The problems of team balance are shown in Moore’s selection: despite opting for the larger total of 30 players (it allows him three hookers and four locks) strangely only five props are listed. Presumably at least one of the hookers can double up, much as Heather Kerr can do for England.
They meet in Auckland on 19 June to fly across to California.
This news leaves Canada as the only nation to reveal its squad. But the Maple Leafs are still basking in their qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. They finished third in the Biarritz Sevens.
The above photo shows Kelly Brazier contemplating a tackle on Alex Matthews