The New Zealand sevens side is targeting gold at Rio.

Park the debates about whether it is an appropriate Olympic sport or whether any team other than the All Blacks should use that moniker. Those decisions, however inappropriate, have been made.

The crucial issues are about coach Gordon Tietjens being able to select the best available players for Rio and co-ordinating their development through the world sevens series.

NZR boss Steve Tew has explained sevens is the biggie this year and efforts to take Olympic gold will get priority.


That rhetoric has not been followed by actions.

After playing in several early sevens events, Akira and Reiko Ioane, Ben Lam and Ardie Savea have returned to the Super rugby franchises. They will stay there until they are then picked up for the last sevens tournaments on the circuit.

"It's going to be a real challenge, making that transition back to sevens again," Tietjens said before the quartet returned to Super Rugby. "I've always said and I've always maintained that to be good at this game you've got to be playing it and training it.

"But they know the game. They needed to play the game now because they hadn't played it for a long time - two, three years - and they've seen how competitive it really is now and those are the challenges. The team that wins gold at Rio is probably going to be one of the best-conditioned teams on the circuit," Tietjens said.

Now the players are involved in two months of Super Rugby where they need to keep their bulk for the rigors of contact work and getting across the advantage line.

Then they will go back to Tietjens for reconditioning and remedial sevens work to prepare for tournaments in Paris and London in May.

That ought to remove them from the June tests against Wales and if they are frontline picks for the Olympics in August, Tietjens would like to get them in final racing trim through July.

Shuffling them between the different demands of Super Rugby and sevens must be counter-productive for the players and disruptive for both squads.

It seems a case of Clayton's priority. Have NZR channelled all their energy towards Rio or are they hoping they might get by?