Tietjens cautious as Sevens job nearly done
A delighted Gordon Tietjens heaped praise on "inspirational" New Zealand captain DJ Forbes but was quick to add a word of caution as his team sits on the verge of another rugby sevens world title.
In Forbes' own words, New Zealand put one hand on the trophy with victory at the penultimate round in Glasgow yesterday, beating England 29-14 in the final to claim their third title from eight outings this season.
The nine-tournament series concludes in London this weekend and the equation is simple for the Kiwis – finish in the top six at Twickenham and the title is theirs. Fail, and they'll have to rely on someone beating Fiji.
New Zealand have 150 points while Fiji are second on 139. The most Fiji can finish on is 161, with 22 points for a tournament victory, while New Zealand would get the required 12 further points from finishing sixth (that's making the plate final) in London.
So far this season, they've only failed to finish outside the top three once, when they were knocked out of the quarterfinals at the Dubai Sevens last December.
Coach Tietjens was in a chirpy mood yesterday as he reflected on a "tough" win, saying winning for Forbes in his 50th tournament was extra special.
But he is not one for complacency and you sense that word will be bandied about quite a bit this week.
"It's awesome to win here, it gives us a better chance to win our title back so for us it was important," Tietjens said, "but we're not there yet, we've still got a bit of work to do.
"Some of the guys are injured and beaten up as well, so we're going to have to get back up tomorrow and prepare for London. It's going to be tough.
"The beauty about today was winning it for DJ Forbes in his 50th tournament. He's a magnificent captain, inspirational leader, and he played so well," he added of the skipper, who scored two tries in the final and was singing off the same song sheet as his coach.
New Zealand were always in control of the final in Glasgow, eventually running away with a five tries to two victory after leading 12-7 at halftime.
In addition to Forbes' double, Tim Mikkelson, Ardie Savea and Lote Raikabula, who will notch up his 50th tournament in London, crossed for tries.
New Zealand earlier swept aside Argentina 36-5 in the quarterfinals and Australia 22-7 in the semifinals, while England knocked out Fiji in the semis with a 26-22 victory.
Fiji clinched third, beating Australia 31-17 in the playoff.