Cama key to NZ Sevens' home title bid
New Zealand's long-time Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens is a hard-working man, in and out of the gym, and he's also achieved all there is to achieve in the game of Sevens. It's doubtful whether much keeps him up at night.
One constant nagging concern, though, probably induces the odd cold sweat: how long can Tomasi Cama keep going?
The wizened coach has nurtured close to 40 All Blacks through his programme since the early 1990s but, for all their brilliance, it has been the likes of Amasio Valence Raoma and now Cama who have pulled the strings and set them on their way.
What a player Cama has become. In this, arguably the toughest of all Sevens eras with the growth of the Series and the rise of Rugby Sevens as an Olympic sport, his influence on the World Series has been immeasurable.
Cama is a player who pauses to draw breath when all around him are running on empty. He is the eyes and ears that outdoes even Tietjens' own plans out there in the middle. A rival coach recently described him as 'the player of the generation'.
He is certainly the principle reason why New Zealand start this week as favourites to retain their Hertz Sevens title.
Time and again, he has risen to the occasion of a Cup final, judged impeccably the ebb and flow of a tournament, or single game, and struck the telling blow.
You see Cama 'junior' has followed in his father's illustrious footsteps and, in doing so, has dealt with expectation his entire life.
"In a way there is a bit of extra pressure," he said.
"But I was very fortunate he was playing for Fiji when I was growing up so I learned a lot of things from him. I learned from watching him, as well as players like Christian Cullen and Eric Rush. Titch always says our preparation is what will help us and like those guys I try to put a lot of work in behind the scenes.
"But me and my father are two different types of player and I have to concentrate on my own game. I know my strengths and weaknesses and try to keep doing what I do well and working on things I can improve on."
Cama is also currently the IRB's Sevens Player of the Year, having won the accolade for the first time in May 2012. Again, while others have struggled to live up to the honour, Cama's standards have remained unerring.
"I love the challenge, I am out there to test myself against the best in the world," added Cama.
"I have been playing for a few years now and age is catching up but I know how hard you have to work to win tournaments.
"Mentally and physically I believe I am prepared for whatever comes my way now and I can cope with it. We do things as a team but I can put my bit in too."
This weekend the partisan Wellington fans will travel to the stadium expecting New Zealand to beat England, USA and Spain in Pool A, and then go on to defend their title. And even above the other members of Tietjens' 'fantastic four' - DJ Forbes, Tim Mikelsson and Lote Raikabula - Cama is the key reason for that.
"We are looking forward to this weekend and hoping to pick up where we left off in Port Elizabeth," said Cama.
"It was important to win that, we made the first two finals and lost, but we rectified that for the third round. The four of us bring different things, we try to share the workload and we try to tell and teach the younger guys everything we need to do to make the game easier and to help each other.
"As a core four, we need to show them the way, when it gets tough we have to put our hands up. They are keeping us on our toes, but we need to front up when we need to."