31 Jan 2013

Full-time sevens contracts almost a reality

12:01 pm on 31 January 2013

As anticipation builds for the Wellington leg of rugby's sevens World Series, negotiations are going on behind the scenes to make sevens a full-time professional sport here.

The national Rugby Players Association is in negotiations with the New Zealand Rugby Union over a new collective agreement.

And those talks include a deal for full-time sevens contracts, with an eye on the next Olympics in Rio - when the seven-player game debuts for both men and women.

The All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes says the move can't come soon enough as a lot of the team is hoping for clarity.

Forbes says New Zealand must get everything in place to get a gold medal.

The New Zealand sevens side begin the campaign to defend their Wellington title on Friday. They've won the last two years and six times overall since the leg's inception in 2000.

And Rocky Khan seems set to be the first player of Fijian-Indian heritage to represent New Zealand at senior level in rugby when he debuts.

Khan's father is Fijian-Indian and his mother a Rotuman Islander, and the 23-year-old's proud to represent both sides of his family in the defending champions' campaign to win a hat-trick of titles.