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Report: NZ Olympic sevens star close to signing with NRL club

By Sam Smith
(Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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The All Blacks Sevens look set to lose one of their key players to rugby league with powerhouse NRL club Melbourne Storm circling one of their Olympic squad members.

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That’s according to a report out of Australia, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that William Warbrick is on the verge of signing with the four-time NRL champions.

Warbrick was part of the All Blacks Sevens squad that finished as silver medallists at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, where he made three appearances against South Korea, Argentina and Canada and scored three tries.

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The 23-year-old’s selection for the Olympics came after he inked a two-year deal with New Zealand Rugby [NZR] ahead of the 2019-20 World Sevens Series after being identified at NZR’s Red Bull Ignite 7s programme three years ago.

Since then, Warbrick made his debut on the World Sevens Series in 2019 as the All Blacks Sevens won the Cape Town Sevens before going on to feature at the Los Angeles Sevens and Vancouver Sevens the following year.

In total, Warbick played in 11 World Sevens Series matches before the tournament was cancelled and the All Blacks Sevens were awarded the 2019-20 title following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Standing at 1.94m and 100kg, the Daily Telegraph reports that Warbrick looms as a strong candidate to replace star wing Josh Addo-Carr, who has signed for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

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A former Australian rules footballer, Warbrick posted on Instagram three weeks ago that he is ready to move to the next chapter of his career.

“Two years ago @allblacks7s and @nzrugbyofficial gave an opportunity to a young fella playing club rugby for Te Teko to live out his childhood dream,” Warbrick wrote.

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“To represent his country and put on the ‘Black’ jersey for a living, something I’ll forever be grateful for.

“As I look to move on I reflect on these past two years which have been nothing but the best and has allowed me to experience things I couldn’t even imagine.

“It has been an absolute privilege being a part of such a special group, from the Management right down to my teammates. I can’t thank you all enough, it has been nothing but a pleasure.”

That post was followed by a video posted on Wabrick’s account on Tuesday that showed him flying to Melbourne, aligning with the rumours of a cross-code move.

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