GORDON Tietjens rates Fiji's relegation to the bowl competition for the first time in the history of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series the biggest surprise in the Wellington 7s.
The New Zealand mentor, who expected Fiji to be one of his toughest opponents, was surprised with the national team's performance on Day One of the tournament.
"Obviously very surprised with the Fiji team performance and there was a lot of surprises yesterday (Friday) and we didn't do pretty well either," Tietjens, who is regarded the best 7s coach, said.
"There are a lot of factors involved when a team losses but I don't really know which ones went wrong for Fiji."
The All Blacks 7s like Fiji was beaten in their first pool play but the DJ Forbes captained side managed to bounce back to remain in cup play.
While Tietjens preferred not to comment on where Fiji went wrong, he said they used the experienced hands to steer the team back in contention.
"My senior players really stepped up after that loss and they showed really good leadership," Tietjens said.
"My young boys started to play pretty well and I hope they become better as we progress in this series."
Fiji coach Timoci Wainiqolo opted for experienced players in the second match against Australia but they failed to live up to the expectations.