It’s a name that carries the weight of rugby royalty: All Blacks.
His accomplishments include a Commonwealth Games gold medal, World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, and six World Rugby Sevens Series titles.
No matter where he goes, however, people always want to know one thing.
“People always talk about the Hakka” said former All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes. “The legacy of the All Blacks, I think everyone wants to know what’s behind it, what’s the secret formula.”
Just one year removed from retirement, Forbes says, however, he’s sharing that same formula with what he calls are emerging rugby countries.
“I guess I have a little bit of a time on the back of retirement. I really just want to share and pass some knowledge, probably more so right now to the nations that want to develop, and the Cayman islands is on the rise, so I want to help out where I can.”
The beneficiaries? Cayman’s National Boys and Girls Youth Sevens programmes. On Saturday (20 October) both groups received first hand instruction from the legend himself. Girls national rugger Mya Heiss says their session was jammed with valuable tools.
“It was really informative. Definitely, Ive learned more about our technique and our attack. I think that’s what we really needed to improve on and in defense as well.”
Women’s National Sevens coach Laura Willighan says the voice of one of rugby’s royalty reinforced a message they’ve long preached.
“The biggest thing the girls are going to take is some of the things we are working on are very similar across the board” said Willighan. “from our level to international level, to even where the All Blacks are playing. It’s so important to get those simple things right.”
If Cayman’s Rugby Women’s Sevens nationals are to return to the international for the first time since 2016, Willighan says youth development is crucial.
“I think everyone has realized now that the future of our girls that our here, instead of trying to scramble and gather people who are willing to play. We want to have a bank of people that are want to play, and it just makes things more competitive in selection.”
At the 2016 RAN Women’s Sevens, Cayman won two games versus Bermuda (22-0) and Turks and Caicos (14-5) but lost to Jamaica (19-0) and Canada (52-0). They have not played in the regional tournament since.