Tietjens 'pledge' revenge
New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has made a pledge that his team will avenge their loss to Fiji on the Gold Coast.
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens has made a pledge that his team will avenge their loss to Fiji in the Final of the IRB Sevens World Series opener on the Gold Coast.
Tietjens has made no secret of the fact that he was targeting victory at the Dubai leg, Round Two on the IRB circuit, which gets underway next weekend.
Two key reasons for Tietjens' plucky optimism may have been the availability to him now of Kurt Baker and Sherwin Stowers.
Both speedsters are proven try-scorers in Sevens and were named in his wider squad of players currently being considered for selection in Dubai.
Now 10-time Series winner Tietjens is looking to mould his chosen 12 into world-beaters, and capture a sixth Dubai title.
If they can do that in a little over a week's time, they will also claw back Fiji's early Series lead.
Travelling to compete in Dubai is also something that Tietjens is looking forward to on a personal level.
"Dubai is my favourite tournament out of all of them. It’s a great tournament to win," Tietjens told allblacks.com.
"The facilities are first rate and the support that Emirates Airline gives us is just fantastic.
"I can remember back to when they were playing in the sand. The tournament has just grown and grown. It is a very special place.
"I have met a lot of people over the years in Dubai who now are very good friends."
It is two years since the New Zealanders, now referred to as the All Blacks Sevens, have been on the winners’ podium in Dubai and the coach is anticipating a tussle on day one with Wales, Argentina and next year's Rugby World Cup Sevens hosts, Russia.
"Wales are the current World Champions in terms of winning the World Cup. Argentina are also very tough on their day and I have seen Russia draw with Fiji," he said.
"There are six or seven teams that could win it. The English have won over the past couple of years, but it’s a climate we like playing in and a tournament we want to win again,” he said.
A team of 12 players will be announced on Thursday to travel to Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
The team flies out on Sunday 25 November.
New Zealand squad: Kurt Baker, Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, Tony Ensor, Gareth Evans, DJ Forbes, Iopu Iopu, Gillies Kaka, Milford Keresoma, Warwick Lahmert, Ben Lam, Luke Masirewa, Tim Mikkelson, Kylem O'Donnell, Lote Raikabula, David Raikuna, Sherwin Stowers, Tutu Tairea, Belgium Tuatagaloa, William Whetton .