Forbes talks of Savea’s with­drawal

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Vet­eran New Zealand sev­ens player DJ Forbes de­scribed Ardie Savea’s sud­den Olympics U-turn as a shock but backed the team to cover his ab­sence. Savea stunned his sev­ens bosses by pulling the pin on his Olympic hopes to fo­cus on Su­per Rugby with the Hur­ri­canes and make a bid for the All Blacks’ loose for­wards mix. Savea played in the world se­ries tour­na­ment wins in Welling­ton and Syd­ney and was set to play in the loom­ing tour­na­ments in Paris and Lon­don. Hav­ing pre­vi­ously played sev­ens in 2012 his tran­si­tion was smooth com­pared to other 15s ri­vals and with his ball skills and dynamic run­ning game, he looked ca­pa­ble of push­ing into the fi­nal Olympic squad of 12 which will be named in July.

“It def­i­nitely came as a shock,” Forbes said of Savea’s un­ex­pected change of heart. DJ Forbes says Savea will be a tough spot to fill in the Olympics Sev­ens squad.

Iron­i­cally Forbes could be a bene­fac­tor with the 33-year-old, who has been part of the New Zealand seven mix since 2006, in com­pe­ti­tion with Savea as one of the squad’s for­wards. “Play­ing in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion as a hooker in sev­ens, it’s go­ing to open an op­por­tu­nity for another player. But in say­ing that, you know, we all know what he can do on a foot­ball field, so that’s go­ing to be a tough spot to fill,” Forbes said as he at­tended the dawn cer­e­mony in Auck­land to cel­e­brate 100 days till the Rio Olympics start.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate. The tim­ing is not con­ve­nient. But in say­ing that, it’s his de­ci­sion and he has other as­pi­ra­tions, so I wish him all the best and leave it at that.”

DJ Forbes.

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