Caleb Clarke’s Olympic dream has hit a road bump, the Jonah Lomu like player was highly praised and favored to be in the squad for the Tokyo Olympics.
But this took a slight turn when the 12 man squad was named and Clarke wasn’t on it, the 22 year old was written down as one of three travelling reserves for the Olympic Games.
His dream of going for his first Olympic gold medal will only be possible if he is needed to replace and injured player. The three day tournament in Tokyo will be the first major tournament since the pandemic hit the world.
Clarke took rugby by storm after her made his debut last year, using his powerful 6-foot 2-inch, 107kg frame to demolish the fragile Australian defense during a test match in Auckland.
The massive winger was boasted as “a special player” by the All Blacks captain Sam Cane and his performance was an immediate call for comparison with the legendary Jonah Lomu himself. Lomu the All Blacks winger is regarded as rugby’s first global superstar.
Clarke made a big decision to make himself unavailable for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman and the All Blacks this year in a gamble to make the Olympics.
Clark Laidlaw, the sevens head coach has said that it was the toughest team selection he has ever had to make. He also emphasized that the three traveling reserves will have to continue to prepare as if they are going to play, injury risks are as high as the hunger of all teams for an Olympic gold.
“Going to Olympics is the pinnacle of four or five years work. We were conscious of that as coaches and selectors, so we made sure we were really clear on how we want to play the game, where the players were at, and picked the best team to go forward,” Laidlaw said.
“When you’ve only got 12 players for one tournament, and it could be 40 degrees with high humidity, having players who can rotate and share the load throughout a weekend and still nail their core role is important.”
New Zealand are currently the number one ranked side in the world and are one of the gold medal favorites for Tokyo.