When the IOC announced that the Rugby Sevens will be part of this year’s Rio Olympics, the New Zealand All Blacks have one thing in mind and that is the chance to show the world that they are the best and they have come to conquer the gold medal.
The All Blacks knew that they will be in for a tough match against competitors such as teams from Fiji, South Africa, Great Britain and Australia. But for DJ Forbes and coach Gordon Tietjens, playing in the Olympics will be the pinnacle of their careers as they will not only compete for the gold but also for their country’s honor.
“It’s the pinnacle of my career, going to the Olympics. I’ve been to five Commonwealth Games and to come to the Olympics is certainly something special. You’re up against the best and you’ve got to be the best to go out and get that gold medal,” Tietjens said.
However, many have speculated if the All Blacks have what it takes to win in the Olympics since they will be missing out the likes of Ardie Savea, Beauden Barrett, Israel Dagg and Ben Smith. DJ Forbes noted that teams should not take them lightly as they still have a chance in getting into the finals and win the gold.
“A star team will always beat a team of stars. When this team is on it is pretty hard to take us off track, I think when the buzz is going for us it’s pretty hard going up against us,” Forbes explained.
Aside from not having some of their solid athletes, the All Blacks also lost Teddy Stanaway, who injured his arm during a warm-up match against the United States. He will be replaced by Lewis Ormond while former All Blacks Liam Messam has been put on standby just in case they would need additional help.
For Tietjens playing in the Olympics is a huge thing for all of his players. He narrated that they have sacrificed a lot to get a spot in playing in Rio, where the sport will make its debut. Tietjens stress that the All Blacks will not back down from this opportunity regardless of what has happened along the way.
For the All Blacks having the Rugby, Seven included in the Olympics changes the landscape of the sport. It opens up more opportunities for the sport to grow with kids dreaming of playing Rugby in the Olympics with the All Blacks.
Photo Courtesy: Jesús Gorriti/Flickr