6 Sep 2016

Tietjens steps down as sevens coach

12:32 pm on 6 September 2016

Sir Gordon Tietjens has stepped down as the coach of the All Blacks Sevens team.

The All Blacks Sevens were a major disappointment at the recent Rio Olympics - failing to win a medal and being generally lacklustre in their play.

Tietjens said he had taken some time to think about his options following the Olympic campaign and felt the time was right for a fresh challenge.

"I love the sevens game and I'm immensely proud of what I've achieved and what all our players have been able to achieve in my time with the team," he said.

"We were all incredibly disappointed with our results in Rio, but we have to acknowledge just how far sevens rugby has come.

"It's become intensely competitive and the Olympics proved just how tough it is to win at this level these days.

"I'm sure lessons will be learnt and I wish my successor all the best for the Sevens Series ahead and for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

"I've loved my time in sevens and I aim to still be involved in some capacity. I'm now working through what those next steps are."

Gordon Tietjens after the Mens Sevens rugby defeat to Japan at the Rio Olympics 9 August, 2016.

Sir Gordon Tietjens after the men's sevens rugby defeat to Japan at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Photosport

Tietjens, 60, has spent 22 years in charge of the national side.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said Sir Gordon had carved out a unique place in New Zealand rugby history.

"Titch has guided the All Blacks Sevens team through more than 100 international tournaments, a remarkable achievement that may never be equalled," Tew said.

"The number of former sevens players who've gone on to become All Blacks speaks for itself and demonstrates the incredible impact that Titch has had on our game.

Sir Gordon Tietjens (left) announces his retirement from his role as coach of the All Black sevens, with New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew.

Sir Gordon Tietjens (left) announces his retirement from his role as coach of the All Black sevens, with New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

"To put the length of his career into context, when he first began in this role rugby was an amateur game, Jim Bolger was Prime Minister and several members of the current All Blacks Sevens team hadn't even been born.

"New Zealand Rugby and our country owe him a debt of gratitude for the legacy he's left behind and all the memories and careers he's shaped along the way."

Tietjens has taken New Zealand to four Commonwealth Games gold medals (1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010), two World Cups (2001 and 2013), and 12 of the 17 world series crowns.

He was knighted in 2013.

- RNZ

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