Olympic Champion Returns to Defend Rugby Sevens Gold Medal After Injury

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The New Zealand Rugby Sevens team is gearing up for the Paris Olympics next month with a mix of experienced players and newcomers. The women’s team, led by the remarkable return of Sarah Hirini from an ACL injury, includes a total of nine first-time Olympians and 15 returning athletes aiming for another medal. Coach Cory Sweeney expressed pride in seeing Hirini’s hard work pay off as she prepares for her third Olympic Games.

In addition to Hirini, players like Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, Theresa Setefano, and Tyla King will also be competing in their third Olympics. On the other hand, newcomers such as Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Manaia Nuku, Mahina Paul, and Jorja Miller will be making their Olympic debut. The team is focused on leaving a mark in history and embracing the mix of seasoned veterans and excited newcomers.

For the men’s team, veterans Scott Curry and Regan Ware will be competing in their third Olympics, bringing experience and leadership to the squad. The team includes a mix of six returning players from the Tokyo campaign, where they won a silver medal, as well as six first-time Olympians. Head coach Tomasi Cama highlighted the tough selection process and the healthy competition within the squad, emphasizing the team’s goal of becoming the first men’s sevens team to win a gold for New Zealand.

Both teams are set to depart for France in early July for a training camp before heading to Paris for the Olympics. The men’s team will kick off the tournament on 24 July, two days before the Opening Ceremony, while the women’s team will take the field on 28 July. The squads are ready to showcase their skills and make their country proud on the Olympic stage.

The New Zealand Women’s Rugby Sevens team roster includes Michaela Blyde, Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Sarah Hirini, Tyla King, Jorja Miller, Manaia Nuku, Mahina Paul, Risaleeana Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili, Theresa Setefano, Stacey Waaka, and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe. On the other hand, the New Zealand Men’s Rugby Sevens team roster features Leroy Carter, Dylan Collier, Tepaea Cook-Savage, Scott Curry, Fehi Fineanganofo, Andrew Knewstubb, Moses Leo, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Tone Ng Shiu, Akuila Rokolisoa, Brady Rush, and Regan Ware. Both teams are a mix of experience, talent, and determination as they prepare to compete on the Olympic stage in Paris.