Rugby: All Black Sevens and Maori teams here to stay

New Zealand's DJ Forbes (R with team mate Rieko Ioane) sit dejected after a call by the ref went against them during day two of the Men's rugby sevens New Zealand vs Fiji. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
New Zealand's DJ Forbes (R with team mate Rieko Ioane) sit dejected after a call by the ref went against them during day two of the Men's rugby sevens New Zealand vs Fiji. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

The All Black Sevens and Maori teams are here to stay.

In the wake of controversy after the men's team crashed out of the Olympic medal hunt, New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew says there will be no review of the decision to attach the All Black name to a number of teams.

Tew says wider use of the All Black name is a vital part of the revenue-gathering strategy.

He rejected suggestions that one poor tournament damaged the All Blacks' reputation.

Tew told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch: "The reality is whether we branded the team or otherwise it would have been called the All Blacks...every team which pulls on the black jersey outside of our country is thought of as the All Blacks.

"Have we damaged the brand in any meaningful way? I'd like to think not.

Japan (who beat the All Black Sevens) have been the surprise package of this tournament. They have played extremely well and good on them.

"The All Black brand has been built up over a hundred years of success. Our sevens team have contributed to that...16 out of 18 or 20 world series tournament, four Commonwealth Games medals in a row."

"This will be a dent but it is every time a New Zealand team wearing the black jersey loses. We've got a very strong brand and will continue to build on it."

Tew said money dictated the policy.

"The economic reality is if we are going to generate the revenue we need internationally to survive in this very competitive game we have to have more collateral in the market than we can possibly dream of with just the All Blacks," he said.

"So our sevens teams and our Maori All Blacks...can give us leverage to get sponsorship and brand awareness we require. The English clubs have just done a deal which gives them a hell of a lot more money to buy players. The French TV deal has cashed up the French clubs. The pressure on our players continues.

"There are a whole lot of pure things we would like to keep in place...but we have to keep banking some money."

Tew, who is in Rio, said the Brazilians had embraced the New Zealand women's team and they saw them as the All Blacks.

"Rugby has made an impression here...what a fantastic result to see a gold medal go to Fiji, and we've seen the emergence of Japan and the Brazilian women, and both the Spanish sides were good," Tew said.

"Growing sevens and allowing our brand to be associated with it is doing the game an immense amount of good long term.

"This is bitterly disappointing for us. We set high standards and didn't achieve them. But it is only a moment in time. Let's not over react."

- NZ Herald

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