Olympics-Hirini returns from ACL to make NZ rugby squad for Paris


  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Women's World Cup - Final - England v New Zealand - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand - November 12, 2022 New Zealand's Sarah Hirini celebrates winning the Women's World Cup REUTERS/David Rowland

(Reuters) - Long-time captain Sarah Hirini was named in the New Zealand women's rugby sevens squad for the Paris Olympics on Thursday despite rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in Dubai last December.

The 31-year-old forward and team mates Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, Theresa Setefano and Tyla King will take part in their third Olympics as the Black Ferns look to defend the title they won three years ago in Tokyo.

"We sat down six months ago and knew that it was achievable, but it would be tight," coach Cory Sweeney said of Hirini's recovery from the knee injury.

"It's been pretty unbelievable seeing how hard (she) has worked to get back and we will really ramp up her involvement over the next six weeks."

Hirini, who has also won two World Cups in the 15-woman game with New Zealand, will undergo a final fitness test before June 2.

The men's squad, also announced on Thursday, is made up of six players who won silver behind Fiji in Tokyo in 2021 and six first-time Olympians. The latter include Brady Rush, the son of sevens great Eric.

The third Olympic sevens tournament will take place at Stade de France from June 24-30.

Men's squad: 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, Regan Ware

Women's squad: Michaela Blyde, Jazmin Felix-Hotham, Sarah Hirini, Tyla King, Jorja Miller, Manaia Nuku, Mahina Paul, Risaleeana Pouri-Lane, Alena Saili, Theresa Setefano, Stacey Waaka, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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