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Forbes rejuvenated by sevens changes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/11/2016

An influx of exciting talent and the beginning of a new era have rejuvenated All Blacks Sevens stalwart DJ Forbes as he prepares to tackle a record-setting 80th world series tournament.

Speaking ahead of the season-opening tournament in Dubai this weekend, Forbes says he's looking forward to helping mould the All Blacks Sevens as they begin a new era under new coaches.

Long-serving coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has been replaced this season by an interim coaching team of Tomasi Cama and Scott Waldrom before new head coach Clark Laidlaw takes over in June.

"There's new ideas, new coaches, new faces and that new generation coming through," Forbes said.

"I'm just really grateful I got the opportunity to be part of that transition.

"Hopefully some of the legacy me and the old boys created maybe 10 years ago, we can kind of instil a little bit of that and these new boys can get on and create their own legacy as well."

Forbes is also looking forward to celebrating his 80th sevens tournament, bettering the record of 79 currently held by Samoan sevens star Uale Mai.

Forbes, who has played 391 world world series games compared to Mai's 359, says it's a milestone which has been a while coming.

"There have been a few tourneys where I've been trying to cross that chalk to actually officially notch it up," he said.

"For me to be here 11 years on, 80 tournaments down the track, it's pretty special - I'm just really grateful that my body has served me this long."

While Hawke's Bay halfback Jonathan Ruru is the sole new cap, the 12-strong squad has a youthful look about it while still retaining an experienced core in players such as Forbes, Tim Mikkelson and captain Scott Curry.

Forbes says blending the two perspectives into a cohesive unit hasn't been difficult.

"The old heads with the new experience creates a really refreshed environment.

"We're working hard to get that stuff off-field right and hopefully turn it into some good performances on the field."

The All Blacks Sevens, who finished third in last season's series, begin pool play against Russia, followed by games against Samoa and England.

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