x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Gordon Tietjens is shocked by poor outing by the world series holders

New Zealand lose three games in a row, including the Bowl semi-final, at the Dubai Rugby Sevens, leaving their coach puzzled and disappointed.

DUBAI // Gordon Tietjens, the most successful coach in sevens, labelled facets of his side's performance as "terrible" and "shocking" after New Zealand lost three matches in a row for the first time in world series rugby.

Having been stopped by South Africa in their last pool match of day one, they were knocked out of the Trophy in a bad-tempered meeting with England on Saturday morning.

They were then shocked in their Bowl semi-final when they were comprehensively beaten by a youthful Australia side.

Having failed to win either of the two opening legs of the new campaign, Tietjens faces a tough task rousing his side ahead of next weekend's tournament in Port Elizabeth.

"We played particularly well in our first two games, but South Africa beat us up a little bit and the guys struggled to get their confidence back," said Tietjens, whose side have won the series nine times.

"We are quite tired at the moment. This is demanding and I have had to play my experienced guys virtually every minute of every game.

"It has been a learning curve for some of the younger players, but [the series] is nowhere near all over."

In a weekend when the sevens status quo was riven, Samoa suffered even greater losses than the New Zealanders.

The Samoans reached the showpiece Trophy final 12 months earlier, but their fall was stark this time around.

The 2009/10 series winners will take silverware with them to South Africa this week, but their success only arrived in the lowest tier competition, the Shield.

"We are in a rebuilding phase," said Stephen Betham, the coach, who has seen many of the leading lights of his world series-winning side signed up by affluent European clubs.

"We started slow, but it is good to come away with a win and build for next week. We have a lot to work on."

pradley@thenational.ae

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