All Blacks Sevens set for Rugby World Cup
The All Blacks Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said his side was in good shape ahead of the opening match of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow today.
“They are looking good, feeling good and they are excited at the moment which is pleasing.”
The All Blacks Sevens take on Canada in Pool D at 3.44pm (11.44pm NZ time) in the giant Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital, with their remaining two pool matches taking place Saturday.
“They are very good rugby players, we have played them twice, London and Tokyo, both close games and I expect nothing different tomorrow.”
Temperatures in Moscow were again above 30 degrees as the capital endured an early summer heatwave. Similar temperatures are forecast for the three day event. The New Zealand Women’s Sevens begin their campaign against Tunisia on Saturday morning at 9am (5pm NZ time).
Mindful of the conditions his team will face late afternoon Friday, Tietjens took the team through training at the same time on Thursday on the well prepared pitches which encircle the Olympic Stadium.
“It’s a lot hotter, but we have adjusted each day so adjusting to the conditions and the heat has been the biggest challenge and we have handled it pretty well and trained pretty well. The boys are in really good shape.
“We had one little scare during the week with Tomasi (Cama) and a little back injury but he came through with flying colours.”
The team completed preparations with a jersey presentation from Karl Tenana, member of the New Zealand team that last lifted the World Cup in 2001 in Argentina.
“Karl passed on a little bit of knowledge of what to expect at a Rugby World Cup and that’s great for the younger players. Until you start playing for a Rugby World Cup you don’t know what pressure is all about. I remember Dubai four years ago when we lost that crucial quarter final and it’s still in the back of my mind and we want to turn that around and start this tournament really well and put a lot of confidence in the team.”
The World Cup marks a big year for one of those younger players, Canterbury forward Sam Dickson who made the side for the first time last year. The jersey presentation has capped off an exciting week in Moscow.
“Karl has been there and done that and he has gave us a couple of words as to why we are in the team and what to expect when we come on to the stage. It was pretty special because he is a legend in the game.
“The World Cup was a goal since I joined the team a year ago. To be in Russia, to finally make it, it’s a dream come true to be at a World Cup. I never thought I would be at a sevens World Cup so it’s time to represent my country and my family and go for it.”
Tietjens is on his fifth World Cup campaign and knows what to expect.
“To win this tournament you have to have six good games and hopefully we can get through the games without having to battle injuries and other concerns.
“I’m always apprehensive going into a tournament, but I never look too far ahead. Hopefully collectively every one of the players will make it a real challenge for me to put a top side on the park. And I want that competiveness in the side and they all have a great attitude and attitudes are a huge ingredient.”
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