Lomu inspires All Blacks win

2013-07-01 09:52
Jonah Lomu (AFP)

Moscow - All Black legend Jonah Lomu was brought in to inspire New Zealand's Rugby World Cup Sevens-winning squad, with coach Gordon Tietjens admitting that planning for Olympic gold in Rio had already begun in earnest.

New Zealand thrashed England 33-0 in the final of the men's competition in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday, with their female counterparts also winning the women's draw with a 29-12 victory over Canada.

While the men's team have won 11 of the 14 season titles on the IRB World Series Sevens circuit, their last victory at the World Cup was way back in 2001.

"It's a great thrill," said Tietjens. "2001 was the last one, and to come off a World Series win and cap it off with the World Cup is a great season."

Lomu, the giant winger who caused havoc among world rugby's defences when he played for the All Blacks was called in as inspiration, having played in that 2001 campaign.

"Jonah Lomu was quite influential (in 2001), and he was brought in to get the buzz going."

Tietjens said the attitude in his squad had improved daily over the three-day tournament.

"Every game from Wales (in the quarter-finals) to Fiji (in the semis) to England, we played superbly," the veteran coach said, adding that his team had also dealt well with thunder storm that had seen their semi-final suspended for an hour.

"We had a pretty tough draw... Fiji was the big one for us, we knew we'd be up against it and it was disruptive with the weather."

Turning to the final, he said: "To play well in those conditions and stick to the game plan - and comprehensively they played straight into our hands and we knew they would -- was great!"

Tim Mikkelson (2), Gillies Kaka, veteran playmaker Tomasi Cama and replacement Waisake Naholo all crossed the whitewash, Cama bagging three conversions and Kaka a fourth as England played a poor kicking game.

"We score good tries in the conditons. I couldn't believe my luck when they kept kicking it back to us because we had that covered. We thought they'd use their fast men," said Tietjens.

"We had to kick at times. We don't like kicking and we rarely do, but today was all about winning the World Cup, it was all about playing the percentages."

Tietjens said the World Cup win was a "great marker" ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016, and also the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, adding that the World Cup was proof that the game was becoming that much more competitive.

"The USA came so close to beating us on the second day... There's no easy games, you never take it more than one game at a time," he said.

"Rugby sevens is a great spectator sport. Globally it's just getting bigger and bigger and I just can't wait until I get my hands on the next couple of players.

"We've already started planning for the Olympics, you have to it, it's huge. It's going to come around pretty quickly, it's only three years away.

"You can't rest on your laurels, you just keep working at ways of improving your players and game."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  jonah lomu  |  rugby

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