DJ Forbes says he is shocked at the timing of Ardie Savea's withdrawal from the New Zealand sevens squad.

Hurricanes loose forward Savea announced on Sunday that he had changed his mind about representing Gordon Tietjens' team at the next two World Series tournaments in Paris and London, plus the Rio Olympics, a revelation that has apparently caught everyone, including New Zealand Rugby and former teammate Forbes, by surprise.

"I was a little bit shocked - because of the timing," Forbes told Radio Sport this morning.

"He's a good mate of mine - I've played sevens with him and 15s against him so I can only wish him the best. Obviously he's got different aspirations and probably wants to be a part of that All Black squad."


Forbes, speaking at a dawn service that marked 100 days before the Olympics start, said he believed attitudes towards sevens would change after the sporting extravaganza which starts on August 5.

The New Zealand sevens team for the Olympics isn't named until late June, but Forbes is a lock-in for it, just as Savea would have been.

"In terms of rugby in New Zealand, 15s is our national sport so it probably doesn't hold that prestige right now - rugby sevens - but as an Olympic sport, and definitely after this first one, I think that's going to change," he said.

"As a sevens advocate who has been here for 10 years, I'd like to think that, in terms of prestige, an Olympic opportunity for any sport would have to be the highest of anyone's career."

Forbes, who gave up the captaincy this year to focus on his game, has been one of the most consistent players in Tietjens' squad. He is also the longest serving. Tietjens' decision to send him home after the Hong Kong tournament rather than attend the one in Singapore meant Forbes, who has played in 391 World Series sevens matches - a record - had to put another significant milestone on hold.

One more tournament and he will be the longest serving sevens player of all time.

"In 10 years I've never been given the opportunity to come home and rest so when Titch told me what was happening I was stoked ... at the same time I wanted to be there because there are a few milestones to be broken."