All Black considers switch to Sevens

Wed, 06 Feb 2013 09:46
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All Black Liam Messam is considering switching to Sevens as the chance to win Olympic gold threatens to lure players from the 15-a-side ranks.

All Black Liam Messam is considering switching to Sevens as the chance to win Olympic gold threatens to lure players from the 15-a-side ranks for the 2016 Rio Games.

Code-hopping former All Black Sonny Bill Williams, who has crossed back to Rugby League, is also reported to be planning a return to union in time to try out for the New Zealand squad heading to the Olympics.

The shortened form of the game becomes a full medal sport in Rio, a year after the next World Cup in England.

"It's something that's definitely on my bucket list. It'll be pretty cool to try and compete for an Olympic gold medal, and Sevens is close to my heart and it always will be," Messam said on Wednesday.

New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens, who has steered his side to victory in 10 of the 13 IRB Sevens World Series, has already begun assembling a core group of players to form the nucleus of a potential Olympic squad.

He has also won approval from the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) to raid Super Rugby teams and take one player from each of the five New Zealand franchises to this year's Sevens World Cup in June.

The NZRU has told New Zealand's elite players that if they want to go to the Olympics they will not be allowed to play Super Rugby or Tests in 2016.

"Come 2016 we want to provide opportunities for Super rugby players and All Blacks should they choose to have a crack at Sevens to be in the frame to go to Rio," NZRU high performance manager Don Tricker said.

"What that means in 2016 is complete immersion in Sevens, so they will not be playing in any other forms of the game in that one year."

Messam, who won Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2006 and 2010 with the New Zealand Sevens team, said he has already discussed with his family and manager the possibility of returning to the shortened form of the game.

Although he would be 32 in 2016, Messam does not believe age will count against him.

"If I was to go to the Olympics then I'd definitely have a full year of Sevens, try and do the circuit or something like that and try and get back to Sevens fitness because it is totally different fitness," he said.

Fairfax Media said it understood former All Blacks midfielder Williams wants to return to union in time to challenge for a place in the All Blacks 2015 World Cup squad before switching to Sevens for the Olympics.

Williams, who also dabbles as a professional boxer, would not elaborate on his long-term plans other than to say that when he retired "I just want to say I have tried lots of things, and I've done as well as I can".

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
SEVENS
MORE LOGS
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Brazil 7s 0 0 0 0 1
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 10
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Portugal Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens
Zimbabwe 7s