Caleb Clarke

Wing Clarke back for All Blacks but Foster sticks to his guns

Foster is under pressure after the All Blacks lost four of their last five tests, including a historic 2-1 home series defeat by Ireland last month that has left them facing something of a crisis a year out from the Rugby World Cup in France.

They now face back-to-back away Rugby Championship clashes against the world champion Springboks, starting in Nelspruit on Saturday, and although a few players have paid the price for the team's below-par form, the core of the side that lost to the Irish remains in place.

Blues believe Caleb Clarke ready to ignite after tough 12 months

The power-packed 107kg Auckland and Blues wing made his big move in 2020 when, on the back of an outstanding Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign for the Blues, he was called into Ian Foster’s first All Blacks squad for the pared-back Rugby Championship/Bledisloe campaign and made every post a winner on the back of a game-turning display in his first test start on his home ground.

All Black Caleb Clarke named as reserve for Olympics

Clarke, who put his efforts into the sevens following Super Rugby Aotearoa this year, has been named as a travelling reserve.

The Chiefs player Etene Nanai-Seturo, who was in the same situation, has made the 12.

The men's and women's teams are both full of experience with the women's side including seven players who claimed silver in Rio five years ago.

Co-captain Tim Mikkelson, the most capped sevens player in the game's history, is joined by Scott Curry and Sam Dickson who have more than 50 World Series tournament appearances each.

Caleb Clarke expected to make decision between Olympics or All Blacks and Blues this week

The Blues will kickstart their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman campaign against the Rebels in Melbourne next Saturday, but whether Clarke partakes in that fixture, or in the competition as a whole, remains to be seen.

Speaking to Stuff last week, the 22-year-old wing said he will spend the coming days deciding whether it’s in his best interests to play the Australian franchises over the next month-and-a-bit, or push for a place in the All Blacks Sevens squad to chase an Olympic gold medal in Japan.

All Blacks star Caleb Clarke could be off-limits for Blues as Olympics beckon

Tony Philp, New Zealand Rugby’s high performance sevens manager, is hoping May is the return date for New Zealand’s men’s and women’s sevens teams’ comeback to the international game.

Neither team have played in an international tournament since the Covid-19 pandemic halted their respective World Series last March.

Clarke is among a small pool of Super Rugby players eyeing an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games in July, but their commitment to Super Rugby Aotearoa means they’re not training under coach Clark Laidlaw with the men’s sevens team for the meantime.

Blues wing Caleb Clarke still driven to go for Olympic gold

Clarke, it is fair to say, is a man in demand after making his All Blacks breakthrough in stunning fashion through the abbreviated 2020 campaign, on the back of an outstanding season with the Blues in the inaugural edition of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

All Blacks rising star staying focussed on future

The trajectory of the 21-year-old's rugby career spiked significantly upwards in 2020.

A starring role with a well-performed Blues side in Super Rugby, leading to a maiden All Blacks call-up and an impressive first five tests to cement his place as one of New Zealand's premier wingers.

After such a superb year, Clarke headed to popular music festival Northern Bass to see in 2021.

But, as warranted as it would have been, the trip certainly wasn't about revelling in his own substantial success.

Clarke stars as storming second half earns All Blacks win

The New Zealanders opened out an early 10-0 lead, a Richie Mo'ounga penalty boosted by halfback Aason Smith's converted try after 22 minutes.

But the Australians hit back through winger Marika Koroibete as the half-hour mark approached, and the All Blacks could only take a narrow 10-7 lead into the break.

It took only two minutes after the restart for fullback Jordie Barrett to add to the New Zealand tally, after the All Blacks showed patience and timing before finding space to score out wide.