With the 2024 season underway, the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens have welcomed youthful talent into their programmes.
Jayden Keelan (Manawatu) and Justine McGregor (Wellington) are the newest additions to the sevens squad in Mt Maunganui.
Keelan, 21, comes to the sevens programme from Manawatu, where he thrived in local club rugby before joining Wairarapa Bush in the Heartland Championship. He spent a season in Spain and was about to return to the Zaragoza club before being handed a full-time All Blacks Sevens contract.
Keelan, Codemeru Vai, and Fehi Fineanganofo are the All Blacks Sevens’ newest contracted players. Vai and Fineanganofo were added to the roster as injury replacements in 2023, and they made their Series debut. This year, they both receive full-time contracts.
All Blacks Sevens coach Tomasi Cama spotted Keelan at the College Old Boys club and was struck by his potential.
“When I saw him play, it was clear that he possesses the raw skill set, comprehension of the game, and excellent footwork. What is most important in a good sevens player is work ethic; you can’t avoid the tough stuff, and Jayden has the proper mindset, so we believe he’ll be a terrific player for us,” stated Cama.
The All Blacks Sevens’ newest contracted players are Keelan, Codemeru Vai, and Fehi Fineanganofo. Vai and Fineanganofo joined the roster as injury replacements in 2023 and made their Series debuts. This year, both of them have full-time contracts.
All Blacks Sevens coach Tomasi Cama discovered Keelan at the College Old Boys club and was impressed by his potential.
“When I saw him play, it was clear that he has the raw skill set, understanding of the game, and excellent footwork.” What is most important in a successful sevens player is work ethic; you can’t dodge the tough stuff, and Jayden has the right mindset, so we think he’ll be a great fit for us,” Cama said.
The Black Ferns Sevens also mark the return of Dhys Faleafaga to the team. The powerful forward made her debut in the black jersey in 2019 and has returned to the team after giving birth to twin kids. Faleafaga, like McGregor, is a former St Mary’s College student.
While not new faces, two new names appear on the roster: Tyla King (née Nathan Wong) and Theresa Setefano (nee Fitzpatrick), who just married, will wear new surnames this season.
Both squads are located full-time in Mt Maunganui. They have five more tournaments in the SVNS series before the Paris Olympics in July.
The All Blacks Sevens squad is:
Tepaea Cook Savage
Ngarohi McGarvey Black
Tone Ng Shiu
Xavier Tito Harris
The Black Ferns Sevens squad is:
Tyla King (nee Nathan-Wong)
Theresa Setefano (nee Fitzpatrick)
Terina Te Tamaki