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All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens gear up for series defense

All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens gear up for series defense

All BlacksDecember 1, 2023

Staging the HSBC SVNS Series, with men's and women's tournaments together in a reduced teams format, has lent extra excitement for New Zealand's defending champions, All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens.

Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini said she couldn't wait for the season to start, especially with all seven tournaments and the grand final running alongside the men's Series.

"It's going to be an epic season."

Their pre-season was the longest they had experienced, and the squad was in good condition.

The side prepared for the Dubai tournament in Abu Dhabi, which Hirini said was a great way to acclimatise to the heat.

She said the side didn't feel any pressure going into the season as defending champions.

"We love what we do, we always want to win and be competitive on the World Series, so we'll be doing that this weekend and, hopefully, that comes with the trophy at the end of it."

Hirini said the team management had been working on a plan that balanced the need to perform well in the Series and arrive at the Olympic Games in peak condition later in 2024.

"They've been doing a lot of planning to ensure we're good this weekend, but come next year we're even better. Hopefully, we start the season well. It's always nice to get a win here in Dubai, it's probably one of my favourite tournaments in the Series."

The Skipper’s are set for season 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣4️⃣

See you Saturday at the @Dubai7s! #AllBlacks7s | #BlackFerns7s | #HSBCSVNS pic.twitter.com/LNDf1ozlD1

— NZ Sevens (@nz_sevens) November 29, 2023

Dubai put everything into staging the event, and she enjoyed the atmosphere outside the tournament in such a new city.

They have been watching their opposing teams, especially when playing in the Fiji tournament two months ago, and they have had recent games against Australia, France and Brazil.

"It's been nice to get some game time against other people, other teams. Most teams are prepared to start the season off, so this weekend will be some of the hardest matches we get and then we have to back it up again next weekend [in South Africa]."

All Blacks Sevens captain Sione Molia is expecting the Series to be more challenging this year with the reduction of teams from 16 to 12 at each tournament.

"We've got a solid 12 teams to compete against and not knowing who we have got in the quarterfinals throws a bit of a spanner in the works as well."

He said it feels good to be back on the World Series schedule.

"We've had an awesome lead-up to it, a great camp and good vibes heading into it, and we're settling in quite well. So, we're looking forward to the weekend."

Molia said they were not feeling any pressure while they were defending series champions.

It was a new season, but they wanted to repeat their success of last year while adding more tournament wins along the way.

He said new coach Tomasi Cama brought a chilled vibe to the environment and a lot of edge, primarily through his actions and how he wants the team to play.

"The boys are coping pretty well with the heat. We've been doing some heat training back at home so it's helped a bit."

It’s about to go down in Dubai 🙌🏽

A brand new season kicks off this weekend in the desert.

Who’s fizzing for season 2024?#AllBlacks7s | #BlackFerns7s pic.twitter.com/3aiuD5QS0J

— NZ Sevens (@nz_sevens) November 28, 2023

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