x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

New Zealand rugby's Gordon Tietjens an old guard who is still marching on

Gordon Tietjens, whose job involves clocking up more air miles annually than the recently-retired Sir Alex Ferguson had to, celebrated an 11th world series title as coach of the New Zealand rugby sevens side, comments Paul Radley.

New Zealand Sevens Rugby Team head coach Gordon Tietjens, pictured above in October 2010 after giving a lecture at The Sevens in Dubai, is still going strong.
New Zealand Sevens Rugby Team head coach Gordon Tietjens, pictured above in October 2010 after giving a lecture at The Sevens in Dubai, is still going strong.

Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to retire at the ripe old age of 71 this week brought with it myriad side effects.

One question, admittedly more sentimental than essential, that has arisen is: "Where do the rest of the old guard go from here?"

The old stagers who are from that mould may start to feel they are being left on the shelf.

We are often told we will never see the like of Ferguson again. No one will last 26-and-a-half years again in the same role and enjoy perpetual triumph throughout.

But there are still some knocking around, if you know where to look.

Gordon Tietjens, whose job involves clocking up more air miles annually than Ferguson had to, celebrated an 11th world series titles as coach of the New Zealand sevens side at the weekend. And that is just in the 14 years since the world series has been an official entity. His reign predates its inception, too.

In addition, his teams have won gold at all four Commonwealth Games sevens events.

It seems like yesterday when Tietjens said that the Delhi Games of 2010 was the fuel maintaining his fire to keep going.

And yet the next one is already on the horizon, in Glasgow next year. Presumably that will be the next target, once the Sevens World Cup in Russia is done and dusted.

The New Zealander is known for many things: perpetual success, relentless drive, longevity and as a talent-spotter par excellence.

A lot like Fergie, then.

Just still in situ.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

 

 

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