Taranaki women's sevens players Lauren Burgess, Michaela Blyde and Gayle Broughton have made the cut for the New Zealand high performance squad.
New Zealand coach Sean Horan yesterday named a 26-strong squad that will form the basis of selection for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia this year and the 2016 Olympic squad.
The Taranaki trio's selection was warranted given their form at the national tournament in Queenstown.
Blyde and Broughton are still 16 and have yet to be included in the New Zealand side, unlike Burgess who helped the national side win the opening IRB tournament in Dubai late last year.
The Taranaki women were involved in the Go For Gold recruitment drive when Horan viewed hundreds of potential players from throughout the country.
The high performance squad will travel to the army base at Waiouru this weekend for an assessment camp.
"We have seen sevens grow in popularity in New Zealand through our work with the provincial unions and we believe we have uncovered some fantastic new talent," Horan said. "This weekend's camp is the first step to the next phase for these women."
NZ WOMEN'S HIGH PERFORMANCE SQUAD:Linda Ituna, Huriana Manuel, Kayla McAlister, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Portia Woodman (Auckland), Olivia Bird, Alexis Tapsell, Ruby Tui (Canterbury), Hazel Tubic, Renee Wickliffe (Counties-Manukau), Shakira Baker, Sarah Goss, Hayley Hutana, Kristina Sole, Selica Winiata (Manawatu), Amanda Rasch (North Harbour), Kelly Brazier, Halie Hurring (Otago), Michaela Blyde, Gayle Broughton, Lauren Burgess (Taranaki), Francea Hansen, Ariana Hira-Herangi, Honey Hireme, Carla Hohepa, Shiray Tane (Waikato).
- Taranaki Daily News
What name would you like to see the Taranaki rugby team known as next year?Related story: Change on cards for our team - no bull