Late sevens call-up stuns debutant Webber

BEN STRANG
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2014
Jordon Webber
Getty Images
SURPRISE SELECTION: Waikato's Jordon Webber is looking to make the most of her call-up to the New Zealand Women's Sevens squad for the tournaments in Atlanta and Sao Paulo.

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Waikato forward Jordon Webber was taken by surprise with her late selection to the New Zealand Women's Sevens squad for World Series events in Atlanta and Sao Paulo.

Webber was called into the team on Sunday to replace Canterbury's Alexis Tapsell, who suffered a concussion during an exhibition match at the Wellington Sevens last weekend.

In that match, Webber put in a stunning performance for the Wellington Invitational team, which included five members of the wider New Zealand squad, including Webber.

She was asked to stay in camp following the head knock to Tapsell, as coaches monitored the player over the weekend.

"It was a massive surprise when they told me," Webber said.

"We were standing there as a team and Sean just said that Alexis wasn't going to be able to play, and that I was in the team. I was pretty stunned."

Two days later Webber was on the plane to Atlanta, and has since been adjusting to her place in the squad.

Horan said Webber was one of the original Go4Gold sevens development players in 2012, with a sight towards playing at the 2016 Olympics.

He said she has worked hard on her game since being picked for that program, and would represent New Zealand well in Atlanta.

Webber said she was spurred on by the big crowd in Wellington last weekend to put on a big performance, and Horan wants more of the same this weekend.

"He has given me a few things to work on, but yeah, he told me to play like that again," she said.

"I just thought, it was such a big crowd and a pretty rare opportunity, so I'd go hard because it's pretty exciting."

Older heads in the New Zealand squad have taken Webber under their wing, teaching her about some kinks of the game, and helping her with her roles in the squad.

When it comes to taking the field tomorrow, Webber admits she doesn't want to think about it.

"I've been trying not to think too much about it because otherwise I'll get really nervous," she said.

"I'll just go out and give it my best. Sean has said there is no pressure on me, he wants me to just play."

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