The domestic rugby season will come to a close next weekend with some of the country’s brightest young sevens stars donning the black jersey at the Global Youth Sevens in Auckland.
The New Zealand Under 18 boys and girls sevens teams have been selected following the culmination of regional and national secondary school sevens tournaments.
A proven pathway to the international stage, Codemeru Vai and Xavier Tito-Harris were members of the 2022 squad and have both gone on to debut for the All Blacks Sevens this year.
New Zealand Rugby Sevens Pathways Manager Dan Goodwin said the selection process has taken several months with selectors looking at athletes in school, club and provincial competitions.
“The players selected have shown the character and skills we want to promote in our All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens teams. We know they will show the integrity and mana of the black jersey in the tournament next week.
“This group of athletes are a credit to themselves, their whānau, schools, clubs, provinces and have an amazing opportunity to showcase their talents.
“We have assembled experienced management teams that will development these young athletes on and off the field who are really excited with this opportunity to help them achieve their future goals".
The Under 18 boys’ team are reigning Global Youth champions and have Maloni Kunawave and Micah Fale returning from the 2022 side. It features three players from the Condors-winning Rotorua Boys’ High School.
Coaches Tafai Ioasa and Rocky Khan are also of championship pedigree, both former Sevens World Series champions with the All Blacks Sevens.
For the Under 18 girls team, Arlia MacCarthy, Justine McGregor, Le'Oxeayn Maiu'u, Maia Davis and Shyrah Tuliau-Tua'a have been selected for the second year.
For McGregor it is her second national selection for 2023, previously involved with the Black Ferns XV campaign, and along with Braxton Sorensen-McGee and Lousie Blyde brings Farah Palmer Cup experience to the side.
A familiar name to many, Blyde is the second cousin of Black Ferns Sevens flyer Michaela Blyde.
Kristina Sue coaches the team again this year, the former Black Fern and Black Ferns Sevens player is joined by Blair Baxter as assistant coach and another former international sevens player, Morgan Morrow, will lead the sides strength and conditioning.
New Zealand Under 18 Boys Sevens Team
Mosese Bason (Feilding High School)
Wiremu Brailey (Rotorua Boys High School)
Micah Fale (St John's College, Hamilton)
Luca Fuller (Kings College)
Levi Gwynne (Kings College)
Maretino Kolaudou (St Thomas' of Canterbury College)
Maloni Kunawave (Rotorua Boys High School)
Dan Maisiri (Feilding High School)
Cooper Roberts (University of Canterbury)
Nathan Salmon (Old Boys Marist Whangarei)
Jai Tamati (Rotorua Boys High School)
Joey Taumateine (Wesley College)
Head Coach - Tafai Iaosa
Assistant Coach - Rocky Kahn
Strength and Conditioning - Gil Barnitt
Manager - Dean Simpson
New Zealand Under 18 Girls Sevens Team
Louise Blyde (Sacred Heart, New Plymouth)
Maia Davis (MANUKURA)
Sariah Ibarra (Hamilton Girls’ High School)
Arlia MacCarthy (Mount Albert Grammar School)
Danii Mafoe (Mount Albert Grammar School)
Jayda Maniapoto (MANUKURA)
Justine McGregor (St Mary’s College, Wellington)
Le' Oxeayn Maiu'u (Avondale College)
Sariyah Paitai (Wesley College)
Avah Sila (Howick College)
Braxton Sorensen McGee (Auckland Girl's Grammar School)
Shyrah Tuliau-Tua'a (Sacred Heart, Hamilton)
Head Coach – Kristina Sue
Assistant Coach – Blair Baxter
Physio – Lauren McDonald
Strength and Conditioning – Morgan Morrow
Manager – Tangi Waikari
Global Youth Sevens
King’s College, Auckland