Lahmert earns sevens contract

SIGNED UP: Warwick Lahmert in action during the international sevens series.
SIGNED UP: Warwick Lahmert in action during the international sevens series.

A decision to buy out his low-key contract in England has paid dividends for Warwick Lahmert. Yesterday, he was named as one of 16 New Zealand sevens contracted players.

"To make the team was a dream come true and this just tops it off, I guess," he said.

"It's something I've worked hard for and I've never given up, so I'm very, very happy."

Just over a year ago, Lahmert had agreed to play for a club in Birmingham but changed his mind when New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens encouraged him to come back to New Zealand and attend some training camps.

His club was not over the moon about the idea and wanted compensation, which he paid, and then he returned from England.

While his return did not reap immediate benefits, he was selected in the side this year, making trips to Australia, Dubai and South Africa so far this season.

Lahmert said the money was very much secondary, he was just pleased the contract gave him some security.

"I don't really play the sport for the money, that's just a bit of a bonus. I would have done it for free - play for my country. Saying that, if there's a bit of coin there, I'll take it."

Lahmert joins fellow Taranaki player Kurt Baker as one of those contracted by the New Zealand Rugby Union, which this week found out they would receive $2 million in high-performance funding for its men's and women's teams. Baker has also been named in the Crusaders' wider training group and will divide his time between the two sides.

Lahmert confirmed he would be available for Taranaki for the national sevens tournament in Queenstown next month.

NEW ZEALAND SEVENS (contracted players): Toby Arnold, Kurt Baker, Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, D J Forbes, Mark Jackman, Gillies Kaka, Milford Keresoma, Warwick Lahmert, Ben Lam, Tim Mikkelson, Luke Masirewa, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, Belgium Tuatagaloa.

Taranaki Daily News