Forbes talks of Savea’s withdrawal
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.”