Sir Titch eyes Dubai title number six
All Blacks Sevens head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens believes it is “about time” his side added a sixth Dubai title to its long collection of honours.
More often than not, his side delivers what he wants.
The all-conquering kiwis are the current HSBC Sevens World Series champions, and the Rugby World Cup Sevens champions. They also won the opening round of this season’s World Series, stretching their current run to three Cup titles in row, having also triumphed in London at the end of last season.
Ominously, Tietjens recently announced full-time specialist Sevens contracts for the first time and he is expecting even more of his players in the future.
Five-time champions in Dubai, the All Blacks Sevens have not won at 7he Sevens since 2009, when they beat Samoa. Last year the Samoans exacted revenge for that defeat, beating them in the final to take their first Dubai title.
“Dubai’s always an exciting event. We always have great support out there because there’s a lot of expats and others who fly in for the tournament, and it’s always appreciated," said Tietjens, who was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list earlier this year.
“But Dubai is a tournament we haven’t won for a number of years now and it is about time we changed that, so we have to carry on from where we left off at the Gold Coast in round one, and if we do that, we have a chance.”
Happy hunting ground
New Zealand were in terrific form on the Gold Coast, scorching through the pool stages without conceding a point, then beating Samoa, England and finally host nation Australia in the final, when they fought back from 12-nil down to win 40-19. That performance firmly re-established them as strong favourites to win a 12th World Series title this season, and victory in Dubai would further underline that tag.
“We always look forward to going there. Dubai’s a great event: for the thousands of people who turn up every year and create a fantastic atmosphere, the lovely environment; and it’s generally a lovely place to visit. I always enjoy going there, and we are always made very welcome.
“Dubai as a Sevens event is superbly well run, it generates a lot of interest, and what makes it special is that you’ve the women’s tournament running alongside ours, and then all invitation matches going on around and about, too.”
New Zealand kick off their Dubai campaign against France and also face Portugal and Kenya in Pool A on 29 November.
All the action will be streamed live on irbsevens.com. Geo-blocking may apply in certain territories.
Video: NZ win emphatic Gold Coast title