Clarke ‘New Lomu’ wins Olympic gold with Kiwi Sevens team


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Wellington (AFP)

All Black winger Caleb Clarke, whose crane races have drawn a comparison to legendary Jonah Lomu, announced Monday he will hunt Olympic gold in rugby sevens at the Tokyo Games.

Clarke’s presence is a coup for the New Zealand 7-a-side team, making him the only full-fledged All Black to sign up for the Olympics.

The 22-year-old is already a recognized artist in the short version of the game, being part of the New Zealand team that won the World Series last year.

Later in 2020, Clarke won his first cap for the All Blacks, bringing up memories of the late Lomu as he used his 6ft 2in, 236lb (1.89meter, 107kg) frame for his opponents in the steamroller.

Clarke and Waikato Chiefs full-back Etene Nanai-Seturo are the only Super Rugby players to join the Kiwi 7-a-side squad.

They will likely have two tournaments to prove worthy of being selected for the Tokyo squad, with a series against Australia this month ahead of a clash in Oceania in June, although their inclusion for the Games appears to be a formality. .

“They’re both fit, fast and strong, so physically they’re going to fit in,” New Zealand seven-man coach Clark Laidlaw said.

“Our game has evolved a bit over the last six months, so there are some technical and tactical aspects that will be really important to do well.”

“New Lomu” Clarke said he appreciates a return to the environment at seven.

“Going to the Olympics would be a once in a lifetime opportunity so I can’t wait to get back to training and do my best,” he said.

Lomu’s career also began at age seven and he later joined the All Blacks to become rugby’s first world superstar before his untimely death in 2015 from complications from long-term kidney disease.

Clarke’s father Eroni is a former All Black who played alongside Lomu and the rookie winger, who is still only five tests away in his All Black career, said he was honored to to be compared to his childhood hero.

“I feel I have a big responsibility to do the jersey justice,” he told Stuff last year.

However, having a leading All Black in the New Zealand seven-a-side is no guarantee of success, as the team discovered at the Rio 2016 Games, when Sonny Bill Williams signed to win. a medal.

The multisport star limped in New Zealand’s opener against Japan with a ruptured Achilles tendon, with the Kiwis losing the match and going out to the quarter-finals.

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