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Mon Apr 21 06:36:58 SAST 2014

New Zealand sevens guru inducted to hall of fame

Sapa-AFP | 14 May, 2012 11:580 Comments
Queenstown Sevens
New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens looks on during the Queenstown Sevens at Queenstown Recreation Centre on January 8, 2012 in Queenstown, New Zealand
Image by: Teaukura Moetaua / Getty Images

New Zealand sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has been inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame after his team sealed their 10th Sevens World Series title in 13 years.

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said inductees were not normally eligible for Hall of Fame honours until three years after they retired but the IRB made an exception for Tietjens because of his outstanding contribution to the game.

"He has been at the top of his game for 17 years and has led the New Zealand sevens team to all 10 of their world titles and four Commonwealth Games gold medals, an amazing accomplishment for any coach," NZRU chief Steve Tew said.

Tietjens, 57, signed a contract extension last month that will see him coach the New Zealand team when sevens makes its Olympic debut at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said Tietjens had been instrumental in gaining Olympic recognition for the short form of the game.

"For many years his New Zealand side has been the standard bearer for the game and, through his knowledge, passion and expertise, he has driven the standards towards what we now celebrate as a truly global game of sevens," he said.

Tietjens said he was "shocked" and "humbled" by the honour.

New Zealand retained their Sevens World Series title on Sunday, with a third-place spot at the London Sevens enough to finish on 167 points, six ahead of closest rivals Fiji.

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