Forward's return bolsters women's sevens side

BEN STRANG
Last updated 20:10 28/03/2014

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New Zealand's women's sevens team has been bolstered with the addition of experienced Waikato forward Honey Hireme for the next leg of the World Series.

Hireme is joined by new cap Katarina Whata-Simpkins in the squad for the tournament in China next weekend, as the two changes to the side which won the Atlanta Sevens last month.

Linda Itunu and Michaela Blyde miss out on the latest squad.

Hireme had missed out on the Atlanta and Sao Paulo legs of the Women's Sevens World Series with a viral illness, but will be a welcome addition to the squad in China.

Coach Sean Horan said several key players were still out injured, such as Kelly Brazier and Ruby Tui, but he still had a strong group to work with.

''There's still a lot of girls out with injury and that's giving us an opportunity to grow depth but also it's a really good chance for all the young girls pushing through,'' he said.

''Our depth is certainly becoming more competitive which is good.''

After winning the Atlanta Sevens, New Zealand were disappointed with their efforts in Sao Paulo, where Australia thoroughly outplayed them in the final.

Horan said the team has worked on key areas to improve after that loss.

''We've been working on our tactics under pressure,'' he said.

''[In Sao Paulo] it was wet weather rugby, and our tactical decision making around certain key areas of the field that put us under pressure, so we have been working on those sorts of things around the tactics, and our skills-set of the catch-pass and being able to move the ball into space.

''We've learned a lot from other teams. A lot of other teams are now coming up a lot in defence, a lot like the guys game so we're having to adjust our skills-set.''

NZ Women's Sevens TeamHoney Hireme, Carla Hohepa, Hazel Tubic, Jordon Webber, Sarah Goss, Gayle Broughton, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Katarina Whata-Simpkins, Huriana Manuel, Selica Winiata, Portia Woodman, Kayla McAlister.

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