Master sevens coach Gordon Tietjens will look to use a successful Commonwealth Games formula to end New Zealand's 12-year drought at the World Cup.
The New Zealand squad arrived in Moscow yesterday after a 30-hour haul from Auckland and will now train and play some practice games ahead of Friday's cup opener against Canada.
While New Zealand have won only one World Cup under Tietjens back in 2001, they have claimed four Commonwealth Games gold medals - ample proof they can handle the pressures of one-off tournaments to go with the consistency that has earned them 11 World Series crowns in 13 years.
"This is special and it's going to be tough to win," Tietjens concedes. "It's a different pressure again. It's like the Commonwealth Games . . . it's no different other than the prestige of being world champion for the next four years. That gives you a lot of inspiration to get out there and do it."
Tietjens said the formula was to do your homework, back your tactics but most importantly, live by the cliche of one game at a time.
Wales proved the unpredictability of the World Cup by claiming the title four years ago in Dubai. The World Series showed standards were increasing.
"We won a world series by a bigger margin than we ever have this year but we only won two out of the nine tournaments."
While Tietjens brought in All Blacks and 15s stars for the one-off Games extravaganzas, he resisted that this time, unlike Australia and South Africa, who bring a handful of Super players to Moscow.
"It's too hard to make that adjustment quickly enough now," Tietjens said. "I've got guys who have been playing and training sevens for a long time now. I'm comfortable with that . . . We have a very strong side." He especially liked his mix of young and old.
"None of us have ever been to Moscow . . . what is put in front of us, we'll go with it. But I think that guiding hand of experienced guys that we have - DJ Forbes, Tomasi Cama and Lote Raikabula - can really provide some assurance for those younger players."
While South Africa had troubled New Zealand most this year, Tietjens felt traditional rival Fiji remained the biggest threat.
The New Zealand women's team will also contest the World Cup after narrowly winning their inaugural World Series.
- Sunday Star Times
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