GORDON Tietjens knows a good team when he sees one. And he has ranked Fiji's winning combination at the Gold Coast 7s in Australia two weeks ago as one of the best.
Despite New Zealand finishing second to Fiji after the final 32-14, Tietjens was happy with the outcome by his young brigade.
The result was a repeat of last year's outcome and that didn't stop New Zealand going on to win the IRB Sevens World Series for the 10th time in 13 years.
"It was a physical final that was won by a good Fiji team — no questions about that," said Tietjens.
"We didn't have the experience. I was relying a lot on Tomasi Cama, Lote Raikabula, Tim Mikkelson and DJ Forbes. Those guys have just come out of fifteens. Fiji had a lot of pace and scored three tries off the kicks. But we're happy with where we finished. We'll be back in the next tournament.
"We didn't play well because we haven't been together a lot. The team was together for only three days and all of the young boys are here on their first tournament.
"Fiji has a new team as well but they know the game of sevens and that's the difference. They can play at the highest level, week in and week out. They played really well and I'm very impressed.
"It's a great start for us. To come here with these new young players and just sit behind Fiji is good. It was a new experience for them and to experience a final against a pretty good Fijian team was awesome for them. You learn from your mistakes and that's how you grow as a sevens player.
The second of the nine tournaments starts on November 30 in Dubai, and that will allow Tietjens more options with the national provincial championship finished and Super Rugby squads sorted out.
New Zealand faces Argentina, Wales and 2013 Rugby World Cup 7s hosts Russia.
Fiji now sits on top of the series standings with 21 points, two ahead of New Zealand.