Scott Waldrom and Tomasi Cama setting new standards as Gordon Tietjens' shadow fades
Gordon Tietjens may have cast a long shadow over the national sevens programme, but expect the new coaches to lighten things up.
Scott Waldrom and Tomasi Cama have taken over as interim head coaches for the upcoming World Rugby Sevens Series, until Scotsman Clark Laidlaw takes the reins on June 1, 2017.
They replaced former coach Tietjens, who had led the programme for more than 20 years, winning four Commonwealth Games gold medals before leading New Zealand to their first Olympic Games.
Tietjens left his role in September after that failed Olympic campaign.
Waldrom and Cama, who both had success coaching provincial sides Wellington and Manawatu respectively, bring a wealth of experience to their roles as former New Zealand Sevens players under Tietjens.
But don't expect them to be more of the same, keeping Tietjens' methods but tweaking them for the new season. This will be a move away from the tried and trusted of yesteryear.
"I'm looking to start afresh," Waldrom said of the job.
"[Tietjens] had certainly done a great job and a great service to New Zealand sevens over the last 22 years, but if I'm going to be the best coach I can be it's not copying what he's done.
"I want to come in and bring something fresh. The game of sevens is evolving so it's probably a good time that we look at how we do things and start changing things up because teams are only getting better and we've got to keep getting better as well."
As a result of that change players will be given a fresh chance to impress, which can be seen in the squad selected for Dubai and Cape Town.
The likes of Rocky Khan return to the squad for the first time in years, despite having been one of the first names on the team sheet once upon a time.
"[I'm] coming in with no previous expectations on players and the way things should be done," Waldrom said.
"It certainly gives an opportunity to get some real growth going."
Captain Scott Curry laughed when asked if trainings had eased off with Tietjens out of the picture, before admitting that they had been a bit easier.
Fitness will still be a key aspect of the game, but Waldrom and Cama are likely to focus on the skills and tactical side of the game more than anything.
Waldrom is superb in leading the effort at the breakdown, as seen with his Wellington sides, and in defense. Cama is seen as one of the best sevens heads on the planet, possibly giving the attack an extra edge for the coming season.
New Zealand plays England, Samoa and Russia in the opening tournament in Dubai.