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It's a team effort

Manoj Kumar
Sunday, December 30, 2012

CHAMPION sevens rugby coach Gordon Tietjens believes in team effort and not individuals and besides Fiji, he is wary of the growing depth in talent even with the lesser lights of the abbreviated code.

Fiji will continue to see a lot more of the sevens guru as heading into the New Year, Tietjens says that he will continue as New Zealand coach until after the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

While he has unearthed many world class talent like Jonah Lomu, Eric Rush and Christian Cullen, Tietjens believes there's a lot more to his team's success than just star attractions.

"It's not about one person in our side, it's not about relying on those players with the X-factor," Tietjens told irbsevens.com.

"I have a favourite saying and that is 'whoever plays will do the job'."

Heading into the next leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, the Kiwis lead with 60 points to France's 46 and Fiji's 44.

Tietjens has won everything, from a World Cup, to the Commonwealth Games gold, and the most number of series titles, but he remains wary of the growing threat from the once minnows of the shortened version.

"In years gone by I could maybe afford to rest a few of my top players for one or even two pool games, and still expect to top the group, or certainly proceed to the Cup quarter-finals," he said.

"For the past couple of years that really hasn't been the case. Everyone knows about Samoa, Fiji and South Africa, all series winners, and the likes of England who've done very well for a number of years now, and Australia who are now back to being the same formidable opponent that they were when the series began.

"Most people also know that Kenya, Wales and Argentina can knock you over if you're not at your best.

"But it's the other teams who've also raised their level — teams like France who now have full time players, and Spain, Canada and Portugal, all of whom are now there at every event as the so-called fourth-ranked side in the pool.

"I can no longer rest my captain DJ Forbes against these sides, or Tomasi Cama or Tim Mikkelson, and just expect to go out there and win with young, talented players.

"These are sides full of experience, players who've played in Rugby World Cups and in many Sevens tournaments, and who are also now being very well coached in the art of Sevens."





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