Home' The Wellingtonian : February 9th 2012 Contents 23
THE WELLINGTONIAN, FEBRUARY 9, 2012
Tickets available at Ticketek outlets or call 0800 Ticketek or www.ticketek.co.nz
WELLINGTON PHOENIX VS BRISBANE ROAR
SUNDAY FEB 12TH, 5.00PM
SHARE THE LOVE:
DAY WITH THE PHOENIX
VALENTINE'S GAME DAY OPTIONS AT WELLINGTONPHOENIX.COM
ROAD TO THE FINALS:
3 GAME PACK NOW AVAILABLE --
SAVE UP TO 30% ON GATE PRICES
Sevens magic, but only for men
Common sight: New Zealand sevens hero Frank Halai slides in for another try in Wellington. Photo: DEAN PEMBERTON
Amid the euphoria of New
Zealand s big sevens rugby win in
Wellington, I did wonder where
the women were.
The international sevens circuit
now includes women s tourna-
ments in such places as Hong
Kong and Las Vegas, but
disappointingly not Wellington.
All that happened in Wellington
was an exhibition tournament
between two scratch women s
The match was just five
minutes each way, not the stan-
dard seven. An unnecessary snub.
The International Rugby Board
lobbied hard to get sevens rugby
into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro
Olympics. A key component of its
bid was that women s rugby was a
genuine world sport.
This was untrue, but rugby
bosses, including some New Zea-
landers, pushed it.
At least the International
Rugby Board is now making
serious attempts to boost women s
rugby. New Zealand lags well
The New Zealand union sent its
own message when it canned the
national women s domestic compe-
tition in 2010.
At the Dubai sevens tourna-
ment last month there was a com-
petitive eight-strong women s
tournament. New Zealand was
not represented. Instead the
union elected to send a 15-a-side
team to England for a three-test
England not only won the test
series, but was also represented
by a development team in Dubai.
There will be no New Zealand
women s team at Las Vegas next
weekend for the women s sevens
Canada, England, the United
States, China, The Netherlands
and even Brazil are galloping
ahead with women s sevens. New
Zealand is now at a fast walk.
People say the women s sevens
will be a gimme gold medal for
New Zealand in 2016, but that s
ridiculous, given the lack of com-
mitment shown so far.
Happily, there have been some
encouraging recent signs.
Sparc, looking to the Olympics,
is injecting $2.5 million into
sevens rugby during the next two
years, and some of that is going to
A fulltime women s sevens
coach, Sean Horan, has just been
appointed. He s been touring the
country scouting for players who
might make the 2016 Olympics.
The temptation is to think the
men s sevens success will auto-
matically carry through to the
women. It won t without some
Meanwhile, a word about Gor-
don Tietjens, who has been
coaching the men s sevens team
since 1994. He s the Alex Fer-
guson of sevens.
What a record he s built: under
him New Zealand have won all
four Commonwealth Games gold
medals contested, and nine of the
12 international sevens series.
He has won 43 sevens
tournaments, though there s been
just one sevens World Cup tri-
umph, in 2001.
The big one, of course, will be
the Olympics. Can he keep pro-
ducing the magic? He seems able
to, despite his best players repeat-
edly being removed and given
Super 15 contracts.
The latest will surely be
Tongan-born winger Frank Halai,
who was the hero of New
Zealand s semi-final win over
England in Wellington and scored
two tries when New Zealand beat
Fiji 24-7 in the final. It s
intriguing to wonder if Tietjens
would have been just as effective
an All Black coach.
You d think so, given his record.
But when he coached the
15-a-side game, notably with Bay
of Plenty, he was a good but not
Perhaps sevens and Tietjens
are simply the perfect fit.
Samara Sheppard, of Churton Park, claimed
the senior women s class in the Port Nicholson
Poneke Cycling College Sport Wellington
mountainbike championships on Sunday.
Sheppard, pictured right, finished the
Wainuiomata course in 58min 45s, comfort-
ably ahead of Raewyn Morrison, of Kapiti.
National and Oceania women s cross-
country champion Rosara Joseph opted to ride
in the men s class, which she won in 55.49.
Also pictured, below, is Luke Small, rep-
resenting Wellington College in the Super D
downhill. He finished fifth in the under-17
class, which was won by Logan Henry.
However, a pall was cast over the event
when James Craig of Wellington collapsed
during the cross-country race. Fellow competi-
tors and marshals were unable to revive him
and he was dead when emergency services
Photos: JIM CHIPP
Links Archive February 2nd 2012 February 16th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page