The Olympic calendar could be to blame for New Zealand Men’s Sevens team crashing out of the Olympics says All Black coach Steve Hansen.
New Zealand’s podium hopes were dashed after a 12-7 loss to Fiji in the quarter-finals and they only managed one win the whole Games. Hansen says that the performance and state of the Men’s team needs to be reviewed and says that the lack of star power due to other rugby commitments at this time of year also could be to blame.
“Everyone will come back and we’ll review the process and learn some lessons as we always do. It took us a while to win a World Cup. We’ve got to make sure we don’t paper over things and we’ve got to look at it honestly and genuinely as a rugby playing group; the sevens, the All Blacks and the rugby union itself and see how we can do it better because it is an opportunity to showcase rugby for New Zealand,” Hansen told Stuff.
“There’s a definite conflict and it’s been really difficult for the players. Some of them have chosen to go, and some to stay and that’s been a decision they’ve had to make themselves without the influence of either Titch or myself.
“If they had a clear calendar around the Olympics and there wasn’t any test rugby I think you’d see a lot of more people want to go but at the same time it just emphasises the players’ thoughts about how they feel about the jersey and their franchises. A lot of guys made the decision because they wanted to stay and try win the championship with their franchises.
“We’d all like to have all our great players at the Olympics to win the gold medal but that’s not guaranteed either. We still want to win test matches and that’s not guaranteed.”
Olympic Sevens semi-finals:
Fiji v Japan
South Africa v Great Britain