Fri Oct 4th / All-in Global / Archived

NEW ZEALAND | RUGBY BOYS WILL GIVE IT A REAL ‘TRY’…

Given they’re such a small nation, it’s no surprise that New Zealand don’t normally return home with their luggage filled with medals. But when it comes to rugby, they’ll fancy their chances as ever…

Men’s Rugby Sevens

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2015 file photo, New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams runs with the ball during the Rugby World Cup semifinal match between New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium in London. Williams passes for a superstar in this part of the world where rugby holds a rare pre-eminence over all other sports. When he competes in rugby sevens at the Olympics in Rio de Janiero next month it's likely his light, which shines brightly in Australasia, will be eclipsed by stars in sports with a more international reach. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 24, 2015 file photo, New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams runs with the ball during the Rugby World Cup semifinal match between New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium in London. Williams passes for a superstar in this part of the world where rugby holds a rare pre-eminence over all other sports. When he competes in rugby sevens at the Olympics in Rio de Janiero next month it’s likely his light, which shines brightly in Australasia, will be eclipsed by stars in sports with a more international reach. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

They’re joint favourites alongside Fiji and South Africa to take gold. First up, they’ll have to finish in the Top 2 in a group containing Great Britain, Kenya and Japan.

The stand-out name in their squad is Sonny Bill Williams. He was only the second player ever to represent the All Blacks in Rugby Union after playing Rugby League for New Zealand and won both the 2011 and 2015 Rugby Union World Cups.

Not content with being a rugby superstar in two codes, he also decided to turn his hand to professional boxing, winning all six of his heavyweight fights.

Other key players are DJ Forbes, the former captain, and Tim Mikkelson.

Women’s field hockey

New Zealand's Charlotte Harrison, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring against South Korea during a women's field hockey match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
New Zealand’s Charlotte Harrison, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring against South Korea during a women’s field hockey match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

The New Zealand Women have never won a medal of any description at the Olympics but this might yet represent their best chance, though they’d rather have avoided the defending champions Netherlands, in the Group Stages.

They started the tournament well, winning 4-1 against South Korea. Amongst the stars of the Black Sticks, the team’s nickname, is Charlotte Harrison who scored in that first match and holds the honour of being the youngest player ever to represent them, making her debut at just 16. Her sister Samantha has also played in the side but commentators and officials will be glad she’s not there- they’re very similar in appearance and often the subject of mistaken identity.

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