New Zealand proud to win 'toughest' series

New Zealand proud to win 'toughest' series

He may have been in the job for 18 years and lifted countless World Series titles, but the sight of his captain lifting the last trophy to be presented in a Sevens season still make the old eyes sparkle. Gordon Tietjens has won everything in Sevens - Commonwealth golds, a World Cup and nine of the 12 World Series, but the joy of victory never seems to fade. "It has been a very tough year, a good year, winning four out of the eight tournaments. It would have been great to win it (the Edinburgh title) today but it wasn't to be," said Tietjens after watching his captain DJ Forbes lift the HSBC Sevens World Series trophy and win back the title for the first time in two years.

He may have been in the job for 18 years and lifted countless World Series titles, but the sight of his captain lifting the last trophy to be presented in a Sevens season still make the old eyes sparkle.

Gordon Tietjens has won everything in Sevens - Commonwealth golds, a World Cup and nine of the 12 World Series, but the joy of victory never seems to fade.

"It has been a very tough year, a good year, winning four out of the eight tournaments. It would have been great to win it (the Edinburgh title) today but it wasn't to be," said Tietjens after watching his captain DJ Forbes lift the HSBC Sevens World Series trophy and win back the title for the first time in two years.

"I think what is really pleasing is that we won the World Series in a year where Sevens is growing, it is a lot stronger now.

"Consistently winning four tournaments was great and the semi finals was the worst we did so that is a great result and I just hope it continues.

"When you look back to Dubai a long time ago in 1999, to go on and win nine of the 12 is just credit to the players that have come through the Sevens system in New Zealand. It is really tough, but it is really successful and rewarding."

Although famed for his high standards, even Tietjens might have held modest hopes for his side at the start of this season. With half of the squad making their debut at this level, he was relying on four or five seasoned campaigners, DJ Forbes, Lote Raikabula, Tomasi Cama, Solomon King and Tim Mikkelson, to stay fit.

"You need that core of experienced players, that is key for new younger players to learn from and hopefully we can blood a few more next year, because it is growing, it is going to get stronger and there are a few more players making themselves available, but next year is going to be a big year for us to defend this," he added.

In the 12-year history of the World Series, Tietjens is the only person to have been involved in all 100 tournaments played, an incredible achievement.

"It is pleasing, it would have been good to win in your 100th tournament, it is like a player playing his 100th game, but it has come pretty quick.


"I didn't really think about it until the other night at a function but we have walked away with the trophy we wanted and that is the World Series."

And on a night when his players lifted the last Cup trophy of the season Paul Treu, coach of Series runners-up South Africa, led the tributes to New Zealand and Tietjens.

"Well done to New Zealand for winning the Series, they have been consistent throughout the season. It just shows that Gordon Tietjens is an unbelievable coach and the structures they have in New Zealand and the depth of talent they have.

"For us, if it wasn't for Cecil Afrika I don't think we would have won these last two tournaments but we always put the emphasis on the team and I am sure Cecil won't take the credit himself."

OTHER REACTION

Ben Ryan, England head coach (on finishing third in the Series)
"We had such a bright start and I was delighted with the first six tournaments but the drop-off in the last two tournaments means we haven't hit our straps here, but we are guaranteed third.

"Would I have taken that at the beginning of the season? Probably not, but we are still ahead of some very good Sevens-playing nations like Fiji, Samoa and Australia and others so there is plenty to work on. We have a young group which will continue to get better and the next World Series will be on us before we know it."

Joe Savou, Fiji head coach (Plate winners and fourth in Series after victory against Samoa)

"I think it is a great rivalry, very physical, but the boys did well and I am very happy we moved above them [Samoa] into fourth. Unfortunately we lost to Australia in the quarter final but we bounced back and I am very pleased with the performance of the boys, especially the new ones, and we will now be working hard. We are happy with the performance and the momentum so we are now looking forward to next season and the start of the Series again."