Five can­di­dates for NZ 7s coach

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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

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