All Blacks 7s captain DJ Forbes wants centralised sevens contracts

All Blacks 7s captain DJ Forbes wants centralised sevens contracts

Captain DJ Forbes has called for specialist sevens rugby contracts to be on the table soon, allowing the core members of the New Zealand sevens rugby team to plot an Olympic pathway. A cash injection to men's sevens of nearly $5 million over the next four years from High Performance Sport New Zealand is expected to result in player salaries at least doubling. The New Zealand Rugby Union has said it will introduce specialist contracts ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where sevens rugby will make its Games debut.

Captain DJ Forbes has called for specialist sevens rugby contracts to be on the table soon, allowing the core members of the New Zealand sevens rugby team to plot an Olympic pathway.

A cash injection to men's sevens of nearly $5 million over the next four years from High Performance Sport New Zealand is expected to result in player salaries at least doubling.

The New Zealand Rugby Union has said it will introduce specialist contracts ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where sevens rugby will make its Games debut.

The size and timing of the those contracts are being negotiated between the NZRU and New Zealand Rugby Players Association.

Forbes hopes a decision can be promptly reached, allowing contracted players to be identified quickly.

That would allow those players to plan for a 2013 season which wouldn't require a debilitating national provincial 15-a-side campaign to top up their income.

"It's important to start locking down players and getting things moving forward," Forbes told NZ Newswire ahead of this week's world series tournament in Wellington.

"Hopefully negotiations come a little bit sooner than later so we can lock down a core group to move towards Rio... we definitely don't want to be left behind."

Forbes, 30, is an example of a player who would benefit by not having to regularly switch formats. Others are long-serving sevens teammates Tomasi Cama, Lote Raikabula and Tim Mikkelson, who have guided New Zealand to numerous world series and Commonwealth Games crowns under coach Gordon Tietjens.

"Some of us are getting a little bit older and we're definitely keen to focus on one code or the other," Forbes said.

"A chance to make a career out of sevens should be made available rather than playing both codes like some of us have been. It kind of catches up with you."

Forbes believes a core contracted group would help New Zealand succeed at this year's World Cup and next year's Commonwealth Games.

"All the stepping stones are there, we just have to make sure we have the right guys to carry the team through," he said.

"Then we'll probably see league converts, touch converts and maybe AFL players, who knows, wanting a crack at the Olympics.

"But you can't just jump across from a code for a couple of months and expect to play.

"Guys are going to have to put their hand up maybe a year out and give it a real good nudge to see if they're good enough."