A close to NZ$2M ($1.7M) "slush fund is likely to be put aside to help New Zealand achieve their high-priority goal of winning two sevens gold medals at the next Olympics," according to Gregor Paul of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD.
The money "is being put aside to ensure high-profile players such as Sonny Bill Williams, Liam Messam and Cory Jane are able to commit to the sevens programme without
being out of pocket."
The "definitive cost of chasing gold has not yet been finalised" but that close to NZ$2M "is being viewed as a realistic budget." There is "strong support for the national body and an agreement in principle from the franchises that they won't stand in the way of players who want to try out for the Olympics." Super Rugby side Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said, "Within reason, we are broadly supportive of the bigger goal of winning gold medals at Rio" (NZ HERALD, 8/3