Eric Rush turned 37 a fortnight ago. In the twilight of an illustrious career, the New Zealand sevens great says he will turn to coaching when he hangs his boots up. 'I may even come over here and coach the Hong Kong team,' joked Rush yesterday. But behind the jest lies Rush's keen hunger to continue his relationship with a sport that has turned him into one of the world's best sevens player. 'When I retire, I will get a coaching job somewhere. Perhaps coach the New Zealand sevens team. But that will depend on Titch [current coach Gordon Tietjens],' Rush said. He is in town as a guest speaker at tonight's Hong Kong Tens dinner at the Hong Kong Football Club. Hong Kong has a special place in the heart of the former All Black winger. For it was here that he found his Colosseum of dreams, an amphitheatre where he made his reputation as a sevens player. He first appeared back in 1988 and, barring last year's absence due to an injury, has played in every tournament since then. 'This will be my 15th visit,' Rush said, looking forward to next month's Credit Suisse First Boston Hong Kong Sevens. 'I can't wait to get back and play in front of that crowd. I missed it badly last year.' Last January in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Rush broke his right leg playing against England in the preliminary round of the Sevens World Cup. He returned home alone and learned on the flight back home that New Zealand had won the World Cup. It has been a frustrating time since then, alleviated only by the fact that he travelled with the team, as a spiritual guide, on their journeys around the world playing in the IRB World Sevens Series. 'It is harder being on the bench. Out on the park you have no time to be nervous. And the fact that you can't do anything makes it all the more frustrating,' Rush said. As an All Black he won nine caps between 1992 and 1996. In sevens his story is unfinished. Rush has missed only the Brisbane leg of this year's Series, due to a shoulder injury. He played at the last event in Wellington, which ended disappointingly for the home fans with the Kiwis losing 26-10 to South Africa in a bruising semi-finals. 'We set ourselves four targets at the start of the season. To win the gold medal again at the Commonwealth Games, to win the World Sevens Series, to win the Hong Kong tournament and the Wellington Sevens . . . which we have failed to do,' Rush pointed out after a light training session down at the fitness centre in the Harbour Plaza Hotel in North Point. Rush readily admits the rest of the world is catching up on New Zealand and Fiji who once jointly held the copyright to sevens rugby. 'It is much harder to win now because countries like Australia, South Africa and Samoa have got better. Then there are sides like Argentina and England who are improving all the time. I think it won't be long before Argentina win a tournament,' Rush predicted. New Zealand's failure to win in Wellington was a huge blow to Rush. 'We played the best sevens of the whole year in Wellington but South Africa deserved to beat us. It is disappointing that we could not win at home. Wellington is getting like Hong Kong because all the Kiwis who have been here know what it is like in Hong Kong and are now dancing, dressing up and coming along not to just sit and watch rugby.' South Africa went on to beat Samoa in the final and are eight points behind the Kiwis in the World Sevens Series standings. Rush is aware that any more slip-ups next month - when the Series comes to Beijing and Hong Kong - could prove disastrous to the New Zealanders' plans of retaining the title. 'I have slowed down a lot since I broke my leg. I have now got to maintain my fitness so that even if I cannot run as fast, I am good enough to play at the same speed at the end of the game. 'I'm getting close to the end. I don't know if this will be my last year. If I'm fit, I will be back,' Rush promised. Hong Kong fans can judge for themselves next month.