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Code switch: Sevens Olympic gold comes at a price

Tuesday 5 Feb 2013 6:05 a.m.

New Zealand Sevens won gold at the Delhi Commonwelath Games. The lure dfor Olympic gold is likely to attract some of New Zealand's best 15-man players, including All Blacks and Super Rugby players (Photosport file)

New Zealand Sevens won gold at the Delhi Commonwelath Games. The lure dfor Olympic gold is likely to attract some of New Zealand's best 15-man players, including All Blacks and Super Rugby players (Photosport file)

By 3 News online staff

The lure of an Olympic medal may be too much for some rugby players to resist, but gold fever comes at a price.

With sevens rugby an Olympic sport for the first time at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, many of New Zealand’s top-flight rugby players wanting to make a temporary switch to the abbreviated form of the game will have to give up the longer,15-man version for the full year.

The New Zealand Rugby Union’s Olympic plan made clear; total commitment is a must.

"What that means in 2016 is complete immersion in sevens, so they will not be playing in any other forms of the game in that one year," NZRU high performance manager Don Tricker was reported saying by Fairfax Media.

The sevens gold rush may be a huge draw card for some All Blacks and Super Rugby players, especially as the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be done and dusted.

The Rio squad is expected to be 20-25 players. But should players come up short on selection, Tricker says that it’s likely they wouldn’t be left out in the cold, able to return to their Super Rugby franchises.

Exactly how the process will work and time frames that the selection processes will operate under are still to be set in place.

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