Caleb Clarke

All Blacks star Caleb Clarke could be off-limits for Blues as Olympics beckon

Tony Philp, New Zealand Rugby’s high performance sevens manager, is hoping May is the return date for New Zealand’s men’s and women’s sevens teams’ comeback to the international game.

Neither team have played in an international tournament since the Covid-19 pandemic halted their respective World Series last March.

Clarke is among a small pool of Super Rugby players eyeing an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games in July, but their commitment to Super Rugby Aotearoa means they’re not training under coach Clark Laidlaw with the men’s sevens team for the meantime.

Blues wing Caleb Clarke still driven to go for Olympic gold

Clarke, it is fair to say, is a man in demand after making his All Blacks breakthrough in stunning fashion through the abbreviated 2020 campaign, on the back of an outstanding season with the Blues in the inaugural edition of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

All Blacks rising star staying focussed on future

The trajectory of the 21-year-old's rugby career spiked significantly upwards in 2020.

A starring role with a well-performed Blues side in Super Rugby, leading to a maiden All Blacks call-up and an impressive first five tests to cement his place as one of New Zealand's premier wingers.

After such a superb year, Clarke headed to popular music festival Northern Bass to see in 2021.

But, as warranted as it would have been, the trip certainly wasn't about revelling in his own substantial success.

Clarke stars as storming second half earns All Blacks win

The New Zealanders opened out an early 10-0 lead, a Richie Mo'ounga penalty boosted by halfback Aason Smith's converted try after 22 minutes.

But the Australians hit back through winger Marika Koroibete as the half-hour mark approached, and the All Blacks could only take a narrow 10-7 lead into the break.

It took only two minutes after the restart for fullback Jordie Barrett to add to the New Zealand tally, after the All Blacks showed patience and timing before finding space to score out wide.