Source: Mike Lee KLC Fotos

Teammates turn rivals for Red Bull Ignite7

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Some of the best sevens players in country will lead the eight Red Bull Ignite7 teams next month with the captains, and coaches, named today.

The Bolt, Inferno, Power and Surge teams will be captained by two All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens players, who will pick their teammates in the Draft next Monday, 30 November.

New Zealand Rugby Sevens High Performance Manager Tony Philp said the concept of players picking their teams was a unique and intriguing prospect.

“This is something completely new for our senior players; we know they are among the best sevens players in the world, but picking a team is something completely different.

“Already there has been a bit of rivalry and banter between them as they start planning how they want to build their teams.

“Once they have picked their squads, they will be charged with building a team environment and preparing to compete in what is going to be a great two days of sevens rugby,” said Philp.

Bolt
The Bolt teams will be captained by Tim Mikkelson, Joe Webber, Ruby Tui (pictured above) and Stacey Fluhler. All Blacks Sevens Assistant Coach Liam Barry will coach the men’s side, while Auckland Sevens coach Crystal Kaua links up with the women’s team.

Mikkelson said when it comes to the draft, he is looking for players that will come together as a group.

“It’s going to be a quick week so we want players that can switch on when we are preparing but also have fun off the field. When it’s time to play – they need to get out there make their teammates proud.”

Fluhler and Tui also highlighted the need of good team players as well along with important off field assets.

“We’re looking for someone who is versatile on the field but can bring a bolt of personality off field, and make us laugh and have a good time,” said Tui.

Inferno
Tyla Nathan-Wong, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Scott Curry and Regan Ware will lead the defending champion Inferno teams. Paul Pou returns to coach the women’s team while All Blacks Sevens Assistant Coach and former star Tomasi Cama will coach the men’s team.

Nathan-Wong said she would be looking out for x-factor players in the draft.

“In team Inferno, we want someone that has really good work ethic, who is fit and willing to bring a side-step or a whack and really express their flair.”

Curry said that the men’s Inferno team would be looking for competitive players who are fast and fit.

Power
The green Power teams will be led by Sam Dickson, Sione Molia, Sarah Hirini and Michaela Blyde. Black Ferns Sevens Assistant Coach Stu Ross will coach the women’s team and Counties Manukau sevens coach Reon Graham takes charge of the men’s.

Molia said he would be looking to draft players that were eager to learn.

“I want a player in team Power that put in the maximum effort on the field and that is not afraid to chance their arm and back themselves.”

Blyde said she and Hirini will also be after confident players when they get to the draft.

“We want players that are willing to express their strengths on the field and be confident in their abilities,” said Blyde.

Surge
The 2020 Surge teams will be captained by Portia Woodman, Kelly Brazier, Kurt Baker and Dylan Collier. Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup coach Willie Rickards will coach the men’s team and former Black Fern Victoria Grant will lead the women’s side.

Women’s captains Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman said they were looking for players that have good work ethic, good character and a player who can create things on the field.

Kurt Baker highlighted the opportunity for emerging players and said he was keen to select players who want a future in sevens and are motivated to win.

Thanks to New Zealand Rugby