Taranaki women's sevens captain Lauren Burgess remains upbeat about her chances of returning to the national squad despite missing out for the next world series event in the United States.
Burgess, 26, made her debut for New Zealand in Dubai last year but has been overlooked by coach Sean Horan for the second of four IRB tournaments scheduled for the sevens season.
"I've been told they want to look at some other girls," she said yesterday. "They [coaches] spoke to me after the [national] tournament and they're really happy with where I'm at."
The setback of missing out on selection has not dampened her enthusiasm, with her next target being the high performance squad next month.
The national squad to compete at tournaments in China and the Netherlands will come from that high performance squad of 26 players. "I've just got to keep my training up," she said.
Burgess has accepted a position in Taranaki Rugby's academy where she will train alongside some of the most promising male players in the province.
As for improvements in her game, Burgess said she had been told by Horan to work on her aggression and improve her body position in the tackle.
She was more than happy with the way her Taranaki side competed at the nationals in Queenstown, despite a one-win, five-loss record.
"We've improved heaps from where we were at the start of the season and the girls did really well considering how young the side is," she said. Meanwhile, former New Plymouth Girls' High School student Kendra Cocksedge has been included in the national squad. She was one of Canterbury's best performers at Queenstown.
NZ WOMEN'S SEVENS (squad): Shakira Baker (Manawatu), Kelly Blazier (Otago), Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Sarah Goss (Manawatu), Linda Ituna (Auckland), Honey Hireme (Waikato), Carla Hohepa (Waikato), Halie Hurring (Otago), Huriana Manuel (Auckland, captain), Kayla McAlister (Auckland), Selica Winiata (Manawatu), Portia Woodman (Auckland).
- Taranaki Daily News