Five candidates for NZ 7s coach
Five candidates for NZ 7s coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has ruled for so long and with such authority, it’s hard to consider who might take over the national sevens teams. Here are five candidates to take over from the knight.
BEN RYAN The thought of an Englishman in charge of a New Zealand rugby team grates but we have to admit the bearded wonder has the midas touch.
He took Fiji to their historic gold medal at Rio, the tiny country’s first podium effort at an Olympics. He managed to knock New Zealand off their perch in the world series as well. He found a way to take Fiji to another level, adding consistency to traditional flair. Basically he beat Titch at his own game. England’s Ben Ryan guided Fiji to their historic Olympics gold medal and is available for employment, having moved on from the sevens powerhouse. He’s free and available. Break with tradition and sign him now.
ERIC RUSH The former All Black and sevens star runs a supermarket up north now which is probably pretty lucrative. Offer him more, hire him a replacement in the retail trade and get Rushy back in the rugby scene.
He spent 13 years in Tietjens’ teams and at one stage seemed to be his heir apparent until it became obvious the old boy was going to keep on going through to Rio. Rush knows the game as well as anyone.
He’s a great character whose personality lends itself to the abbreviated game.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to an Eric Rush speech, you’ll know this guy thinks outside the square.
SEAN HORAN With an alarming lack of a succession plan in place, switching the women’s coach to the men’s scene is a viable option.
Yes, the Sevens Sisters got overtaken by Australia in the run into the Olympics and at the actual tournament at Rio, but Horan has shown adaptability.
There’s been plenty of investment in Horan, including getting a look at the Tietjens ways.
He’d probably relish a chance to have the men under his guidance.
DJ FORBES The workhorse of the current team has managed to get a contract extension to keep on playing with the side through to next year. You could argue that the Olympics looked one campaign too many for the tireless Forbes. Change the contract details and push him into coaching. He’s got the knowledge and respect. He knows the opposition and he knows the ever-changing requirements in this fast-paced game.
SCOTT WALDROM He seems to have plenty of passion for the game and has been serving his apprenticeship at national level where he has had success with Wellington. He’s played for the New Zealand sevens team and clearly has ambitions. In an organisation like New Zealand Rugby where patience and loyalty tends to get rewarded, Waldrom would have to be on a short list, having been in the system. -Rugby Heaven