Two Marlborough players have been named in a strong Tasman women's sevens squad to prepare for the South Island tournament in Timaru on November 24.
Blenheim's Zoe Johnson and Picton player Cheyenne Conroy-Mosdell, both with limited experience at the game, made the cut and are looking forward to the challenge.
Johnson, a Marlborough representative netballer and former top athlete, was named player of the tournament at the recent Turf Hotel Tasman club sevens in Motueka, despite having never played the game before.
Aside from a bit of primary school 15-a-side and a game in the seventh form Johnson hadn't even played rugby before the sevens event.
"I got interested in [sevens] after watching it on TV and asked a friend from netball how to get involved," Johnson said. "I trialled and had a lot of fun. I'm learning more all the time."
Conroy-Mosdell, head girl at Queen Charlotte College, is also a rookie. Her interest in sevens was piqued by the New Zealand Rugby Union's Go for Gold campaign, aimed at finding young women interested in becoming sevens players with an eye on the Olympics in Rio.
Although Cheyenne hasn't played a full game of touch, she is training with the Tasman crew and ready to go.
"I'm a bit nervous," she said, "but I'm really excited about learning the new skills."
Former Marlborough premier netballer Daina Crosbie is also a member of the Tasman squad.
Tasman sevens resource coach Mike Kerrisk, and women's coaches Shawn Begg and Cyril Collier, all from Nelson, are happy with the mix of players in the squad.
"We have a nice blend of experience along with some exciting youth talent. Many of these girls have not played sevens until this year so the learning curve is still very steep for many of them," Kerrisk said.
"The fact that we have players from all clubs, including Marlborough and high schools represented here is an indication of the spread of talent around the region. Our aim is to get these girls into playing tournaments, getting a taste of the game at a high level, then going back to their respective clubs/schools and encouraging their peers to give it a go."
The initial Tasman women's squad for the 2012/2013 campaign: Abbie Cederman, Angela Cotton, Daina Crosbie, Alesha Curtis, Anita Currie, Moana Forbes, Ilisa Higgins, Jodie Hikoroa, Fern Hoskin, Zoe Johnson, Hilary Jones, Tarsh Kara, Karly Larking, Ella Marwick, Cheyenne Conroy-Mosdell, Stephy Omunsden, Yakira Taituha, Dana Wilson. One to two players may be added.
- The Marlborough Express