Big ban for eye-gouging Kiwi

Mon, 27 Jan 2014 08:25
You've got to be better than that

New Zealand were dealt a big blow ahead of their home leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.

The Kiwis, who lost to South Africa in the Cup Final at the Las Vegas leg at the weekend, will be without the services of Sam Dickson, who was handed a nine-game ban for eye-gouging in their final pool match against Fiji.

South Africa defended their title at the United States leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, winning a thrilling Cup Final 14-7 against New Zealand.

It is a double blow for the Kiwi team - the defending IRB World Series champions.

In winning a second successive tournament title this season, South Africa claimed a one-point lead over the Kiwis.

New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens admitted the loss of Dickson ahead of the Wellington leg on February 7 and 8 is a blow.

"It is quite tough," he said of the nine-match ban - which rules the player out of the entire Wellington tournament, after he also sat out the knock-out rounds in Vegas.

"That's what it is and you've got to be better than that and we've got to kick on," Tietjens said of the ban.

"We've, as I've said, had some real tough games here this [past] weekend."

Dickson was not the only New Zealand player who got himself in trouble with disciplinary officials in Vegas.

George Tilsley also sat out a two-game ban for a tip-tackle. However, he is available for Wellington.

Tietjens admitted his team simply was "not good enough" in the Final against the BlitzBokke.

He said they were inaccurate at line-out time and that cost them.

New Zealand haven't beaten South Africa since 2012.