Sevens side struggles in Singapore

Singapore hosted the eighth round of the World Sevens Series last weekend, with New Zealand struggling to be at their best in an overall disappointing tournament. However despite losing three games, New Zealand coach Sir Gordon Tietjens is looking at the positives as he prepares his side for the Rio Olympics. 

New Zealand started the round badly as they fell unexpectedly short in their opening game against France. They went on to qualify for the plate final but were shocked by Samoa who sit six places back from New Zealand in the overall series standings. Tietjens said the tournament was a tough one for his side but he is happy that while a lot of key players were missing, he is still managing to find depth in his squad. Even though at times the young side were exposed, he was happy to give them an opportunity to develop their game. Tietjens was particularly happy with how Sonny Bill Williams played and praised his ability to get better with every opportunity he is given. 

The result means that New Zealand drops back into third place on the series ladder, as the gap between first placed Fiji widens to 12 points. There are still two rounds left to play and Tietjens has not ruled out another series title. However he has conceded that preparation for the Rio Olympics is still a priority. With players coming back from  injury and from Super Rugby, the last two rounds of the series will be a vital training run for the team as they prepare for the fast approaching Olympics. 

The latest round in Singapore has shown exactly why no country can be written off, as Kenya took away the win in a stunning 30-7 victory against series leaders Fiji. The unpredictable nature of sevens rugby will be at the forefront of the New Zealand sides mind as they know they will have to be at the top of their game to bring home the gold medal in August.

This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2016.
Posted 11:47am Sunday 24th April 2016 by Willy Chapman.