Leg­ends Make 7s An Olympic Spec­ta­cle

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two Rugby Sev­ens World Cup (2001 in Ar­gentina and 2013 in Rus­sia);

12 of the 17 World Sev­ens Se­ries crowns.

The vet­eran coach has also nur­tured more than 40 All Blacks in­clud­ing Chris­tian Cullen, Eric Rush, Jonah Lomu, Ju­lian Savea, Liam Mes­sam, Mils Mu­li­aina, Rod­ney So’oialo and Vic­tor Vito.

Early this week he vividly re­called how he won his first HK 7s in 1994 and Rugby Sev­ens World Cup (2001) “The first Hong Kong tour­na­ment as an All Blacks Sev­ens coach was re­ally quite spe­cial and one I’ll never for­get,” Ti­et­jens said. “To go on and win that for the next two years, three in a row, was a dream start.” Serevi also made his de­but as cap­tain in 1994 and it took three years to beat Ti­et­jens’men af­ter win­ning the RSWC (Mel­rose Cup) in 1997. The ri­val­ries be­tween New Zealand and Fiji in the an­nual HK7s tour­na­ment, in­cepted in 1976, el­e­vated the pro­file of the event to be­come the first gen­uinely global gath­er­ing of the rugby na­tions. The im­pact of the HK7s con­vinced World Rugby that the sport wasn’t just about the Home na­tions and France since it was fast be­com­ing a global game. It’s fair to say that the HK7s make the Rugby World Cup.

Be­cause 17 years af­ter the first HK7s, World Rugby held the first Rugby Sev­ens World Cup in Scot­land in 1993 and 11 years later the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 1987.

Af­ter in­tense lob­by­ing by rugby leg­ends Serevi, Ti­et­jens, Jonah Lomu, Agustin Pi­chot, Lawrence Dal­laglio, Lau­rie Mains, David Cam­pese etc, World Rugby fi­nally con­vinced the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee in 2009 in Sin­ga­pore and rugby sev­ens was voted as an Olympics sport. While we cel­e­brate our 7s suc­cess in Rio, we should be grate­ful for those who stood tall for decades to make the sport what is now to­day. From a butcher’s shop in Scot­land to So Kon Po in Hong Kong, to the 10 des­ti­na­tions in the World Sev­ens Se­ries from Dubai to Lon­don, to the Deodoro Sta­dium in Rio, rugby sev­ens will be serv­ing up many sport­ing feasts for decades to come. We can only look back and thank those who have toiled over the years as they gave ev­ery­thing. 54th out of 205 Olympic na­tions af­ter win­ning our first gold medal in Rio last month was a rare feat. We ap­plaud those who con­trib­uted to the suc­cess of the sport many de­scribed as spec­ta­cle to watch and ‘played in heaven.’

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