NZ women's sevens squad lacks superstars for Canada leg
The New Zealand women's sevens side will have a new captain in Tyla Nathan-Wong as they look to nail the last two events of the world series.
The events are must-win for New Zealand if they are to take the series from Australia.
However, they have lost five players, including captain Sarah Goss, Portia Woodman and Kelly Brazier, to the Black Ferns 15s ahead of the Women's Rugby World Cup in August.
The Canadian leg of the HSBC world series will be in Langford, Victoria, on May 27-28 (May 28-29 NZT).
Head coach Allan Bunting said the team he wanted to see how the new side performed, with many players unavailable.
"Many of our experienced players are moving over to the Black Ferns for the next couple of months so it has given us the opportunity to look a bit deeper into our talent pool. It's created opportunities for players with less game time over the World Series to step up for the last two tournaments.
"While many of these players have been in our wider team environment this year, injury or other factors have ruled them out of selection. So our training camp this week has been about whanaungatanga (kinship). We've welcomed the new players and given the team clarity, confidence and courage to express themselves and front every challenge.
"This is also an opportunity for us to extend our leadership group, with Tyla Nathan-Wong stepping up from assistant captain to captain with support from Ruby Tui and Niall Williams who who have been doing an outstanding job in our leadership group.
"We're well aware of the challenges we have ahead of us in our pool in Langford against England and USA. We will be taking it one game at a time. It is great to see the Netherlands back in the series for this leg, they always put up a physical well-rounded challenge and have really pushed us in the past, so we are focused on them for now."
The last leg of the series is in Clermont-Ferrand, France, from June 24-25.
NZ women's sevens squad:
Tyla Nathan-Wong (c) (Auckland), Shakira Baker (Waikato), Michaela Blyde (Bay of Plenty), Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga (Manawatu), Jess Drummond (Tasman), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland), Crystal Mayes (Manawatu), Cheyelle Robins-Reti (Waikato), Alena Saili (Southland), Ruby Tui (Canterbury), Katarina Whata-Simpkins (Wellington), Niall Williams (Auckland). Travelling reserves: Lyric Faleafaga (Wellington), Tayla Reti (Manawatu).
Sunday, May 28 (NZT):
5.52am v Netherlands
8.36am v USA
11.20am v England