The All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens admit there’ll be a few excited nerves tomorrow as they take to the pitch for their first international matches in more than a year.
The teams will face off against Trans-Tasman rivals Australia in Auckland from May 21-23rd.
Black Ferns Sevens athlete Tyla Nathan-Wong says she can’t wait to pull on her black jersey and represent her country.
“I’m so excited to be returning back to the international game. It'll be 475 days since we last played against an international team, the longest break we have ever had.
“I know everyone is really pumped to get the opportunity to take on Australia and also to play in front of friends and family, with this potentially being the last time we do before the team sets sail for the Olympics.”
Both teams will play six matches against their Australian counterparts in critical international competition ahead of the Olympic Games.
The teams will play at Grammar TEC’s Orakei Domain on Friday and Sunday, while Saturday’s matches will be part of a blockbusting Trans-Tasman rugby festival at Eden Park alongside the Blues v Waratahs Super Rugby match. (Get your tickets HERE)
Both the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens were in stellar form in the World Series in 2020 before Covid-19 saw a halt in international rugby and the Series brought to a premature end. Having led the Series to that point, both teams were crowned World Series champions.
The teams are now hoping to pick up where they left off.
“The games against Australia really give us an opportunity to test ourselves and to see where we’re at against another quality side,” said Nathan Wong.
“We have only been able to play ourselves for the past year and although that’s been great we know the game styles other teams play is different to ours.
“We will really be able to test how we adapt on the fly. It's going to be a lot of fun.”
Nathan-Wong was part of the silver medal winning team at the Rio Olympic Games and is working towards selection for Tokyo. She says while she knows these Games will be different, she’s thrilled they’re going ahead.
“I'm feeling really positive about where I’m at and where the team’s at. We’ve been building really nicely, we’re still taking it day by day and also focusing on enjoying every moment this journey has to offer.”Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games