Series champions eying World Cup double

(IRB.COM) Monday 24 June 2013  
 
 Series champions eying World Cup double
DJ Forbes has returned to the All Black Sevens after being injured in Tokyo

New Zealand head into this weekend's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow as favourites after wrapping up an impressive 11th HSBC Sevens World Series title in May.

Sir Gordon Tietjens' side has also been handed a boost with the return of captain DJ Forbes, one of only three players to have competed at the last RWC Sevens in Dubai four years ago.

After suffering injury at the seventh round of this year's Series in Tokyo, Forbes had to watch on from home as Tim MIkkelson lifted the famous trophy at Twickenham. Understandably, he is delighted to be back.

"It never gets tiring," said Forbes, who is joined by Lote Raikabula and Tomasi Cama from the 2009 squad. "Every time you get a chance to wear the jersey you do and to be back in the mix is very pleasing.

"Of course I wanted to be there [in London], but it’s never been just about the 12 but every guy that contributes to the World Series. They brought a medal back for me, which is pretty cool, but I'm hoping we can do the same again here at the World Cup.

"It's my first time in Russia and I never would have dreamt of playing here. We turned up at the stadium yesterday and had a good turn out. I guess there’s a community of people out there supporting the black jersey and supporting rugby in general which is exciting.

"It’s an awesome occasion to be part of and, like we’ve mentioned, the stepping stones are in place for the Commonwealth games next year and building on to the Olympic Games. So hopefully we can start well."

Lomu's words of wisdom

Four years ago in Dubai, New Zealand lost to eventual winners Wales in the quarter finals in one of the shocks of the tournament and before that they lost out to Fiji and Waisale Serevi in the 2005 final.

Their last Sevens World Cup victory came in 2001 when the likes of Jonah Lomu and Eric Rush lined up in the team that beat Australia in the final.

Legends Lomu, Rush and Brad Flemiing visited the side to impart their words of wisdom before they flew to Moscow.

"It’s been a while since we won the World Cup and you could say it’s a similar situation to the All Blacks [in 2011]," added Forbes.

"We’ve got an opportunity now and it is the last one for a little while before the Olympics takes over so it’s going to be a huge occasion.

"We had Eric Rush, Jonah Lomu and Brad Fleming come in before we left New Zealand to give us a bit of motivation from the winning 2001 team so hopefully we can draw on those words and really dig deep."

New Zealand face USA, Canada and Georgia in their pool on days one and two of the tournament, which runs from 28-30 June at the Luzhniki Stadium.

New Zealand v Wales in RWC Sevens quarter final in 2009


Matches will be streamed live from the Rugby World Cup Sevens on rwcsevens.com