Topics: Sevens, Rugby

All Blacks Sevens still qualify for Rio despite shaky year

The road to Rio has been a shaky one for the All Blacks Sevens team this year, struggling to dominate the tournaments like they had in previous years and finishing third behind Fiji and South Africa.

They're ready to rest after a tough year on the road.

Gillies Kaka (Ngāti Kahungunu) says, "We had a hard couple of weeks especially Glasgow I think maybe three of the top five teams in our pool so it's good to finally get a break."

"I've got five months off rugby so I just get to sit down put the legs up and rest for as long as possible, yet there will be a lot of training," Beaudein Waaka (Ngāi Tūhoe).

While spending time with family is a top priority for the players during their break, they'll also be spending a lot of time pursuing another passion.

Waaka says, "Definitely put in some time to go hunting definitely go out with the boys the likes of Joe Webber and Gillies Kaka.  I know they're big fans of it so hopefully get out with them and if not back to Ruatoki and go out with all the cuzzies."

"I think Joe Webber be out there tonight and on the weekend and hopefully I can touch base with him and Hamilton ways and go out with him," says Kaka.

After winning 12 of the 15 world series, the All Blacks team finished third but more importantly, finished in the top four to qualify for the Rio Olympics next year.

Waaka explains, "The boys before the campaign set out a goal to qualify for Rio and achieving that was amazing, really amazing."

Fiji was the in-form team this year and finished on top.  NZ know they'll be a real threat come Olympics.

"They've got an awesome set up there at the moment and they've always got new players coming through so they're always a hard team to play anyway," says Kaka.

But Beaudein Waaka and Gillies Kaka won't have Fiji in their sights for the next little while, it'll be a four-legged animal instead.