By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: 10/10/09 1:49pm
Tietjens: Predicts bright future for sevens
New Zealand rugby sevens coach Gordon Tietjens believes the inclusion of the sport in the Olympic Games from 2016 will see a huge boost in its popularity.
"(Sevens) is going to grow as a sport, particularly into the Asian countries. I think you will see sevens rugby really on the map now"
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Rugby sevens and golf were both added to the programme for the Games in Rio de Janeiro by the International Olympic Committee, and Tietjens has praised the decision.
"(Sevens) is going to grow as a sport, particularly into the Asian countries. I think you will see sevens rugby really on the map now," he said.
"It's been successful in the world series. It's been successful in the last three Commonwealth Games as an outstanding spectator sport and I believe you'll get a huge upsurge in the playing numbers."
Since the launch of the IRB World Series, New Zealand have dominated the sevens circuit, claiming eight titles under Tietjens and three Commonwealth Games gold medals.
Current All Blacks Mils Muliaina, Rodney So'oialo and Cory Jane have all been successful in sevens, with Muliaina and So'oialo featured in the 2002 gold-medal winning team in Manchester and Jane a winner in Melbourne in 2006.
Prior to his World Cup success in 1995 and 1999, Jonah Lomu also launched his career playing sevens.
"I think you're still going to get players aspiring to be All Blacks using sevens as a launching pad," added Tietjens.
"But a lot of the younger players coming in now are going to use sevens, not only as a launching pad, but also perhaps looking ahead to being part of an Olympic Games."
Despite Tietjens having been in charge of the New Zealand sevens team since 1994, he has doubts over his possible involvement in Rio.
"That is the million dollar question. I certainly take it on a year by year case but I would love to be involved in some capacity going to an Olympics Games," he said.
"I've been to three Commonwealth Games and I've got a fourth coming up, so I'll just have to wait and see."
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