7 Feb 2013

Messam dreams of Olympic gold

2:12 pm on 7 February 2013

The All Black flanker Liam Messam is considering switching to sevens rugby as the chance to win Olympic gold threatens to lure players from the 15-a-side game.

The shortened form of the game becomes a full medal sport in Rio, a year after the next Rugby World Cup in England.

Code-hopping former All Black Sonny Bill Williams, who has crossed back to the NRL, is also reported to be planning a return from the Sydney Roosters to union in time to try out for the New Zealand squad heading to the Olympics.

New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens, who has steered his side to victory in 10 of the 13 IRB Sevens World Series, has already begun assembling a core group of players to form the nucleus of a potential Olympic squad.

He has also won approval from the New Zealand Rugby Union to raid Super Rugby sides and take one player from each of the five New Zealand franchises to this year's Sevens World Cup in June.

The NZRU has told New Zealand's elite players if they want to go to the Olympics, they will not be allowed to play Super or test rugby in 2016.

Messam, who won Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2006 and 2010 with the New Zealand Sevens team, said he has already discussed with his family and manager the possibility of returning to the shortened form of the game.

Although he would be 32 in 2016, Messam does not believe age will count against him.