All Blacks winger Caleb Clarke has confirmed his Tokyo Olympics involvement, with he and Chiefs winger Etene Nanai-Seturo opting to represent New Zealand in sevens.
Both players intended to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics last year, before the Games were postponed, due to COVID-19, and they returned to Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Clarke's form for the Blues earned him an All Blacks debut in 2020, while Nanai-Seturo was part of the Chiefs side that finished runners-up to the Crusaders this year.
Their decision to bid for Olympic glory means neither will play in the inaugural Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, beginning Friday.
Clarke will also be unavailable for the All Blacks' July test series window.
"It's definitely exciting and a bit nerve wracking but Olympics is a once in a lifetime opportunity so to have a chance at going is something I didn't want to miss," Clarke says.
Although he'd planned to try his hand for the Olympics last year, Clarke admits his surprisingly quick ascent to the All Blacks took him off guard and made the decision to forego selection for the July test series more complicated.
"I didn't think I'd be an All Black as fast as I got to it but Olympics is always such a pinnacle event," he admits.
"It was a bit harder this year leaving Super Rugby, especially because I didn't really feel like I played to my potential.
"But I'm really happy about coming to sevens and being back with the boys."
Still just 22 years old, Clarke feels the time is right to pounce on the chance to compete at the Olympics.
"While I'm still young it's something I can hopefully do and look back on once my career is finished - when I'm not walking anymore because I'm so battered and bruised - and I can say that I got to have a chance to go to the Olympics.
"I'd be really gutted if I didn't do that.
"They've been a big part of our team over the past 2-3 years, so it feels quite natural them coming back into our environment," coach Clark Laidlaw says.
"The communication and connection has stayed strong in this period, so now it's about re-aligning them with how we are doing things and get them back up to speed with our game.
"They are both fit, fast and strong, so physically they'll slot in. Our game has evolved a bit in the past six months though, so some of the technical-and-tactical stuff will be really important to get right."
Highlanders' utility Vilimoni Koroi will join Clarke and Nanai-Seturo as part of New Zealand's sevens set-up.
Elsewhere, Hurricanes winger Salesi Rayasi has opted to remain with his Super Rugby side, ruling him out of Tokyo.
New Zealand's sevens teams will likely play two tournaments before the Olympics squads are decided, facing Australia later this month and an Oceania tournament in June.