Men in Black on a Sevens Mission to Impress
Please see below a media release issued on behalf of Emirates.
Men in Black on a Sevens Mission to Impress in Dubai - New Zealand aiming to recapture Emirates International Trophy for first time since 2002-
UAE, November 22nd, 2006: New Zealand are eagerly looking
the forthcoming Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens and with it a chance to
bounce back after their disappointment at last season's IRB World Series.
The men in black virtually monopolised honours at the short-form of the game with a run of spectacular successes capped by six straight world titles before Fiji finally broke that stranglehold earlier this year.
And master coach Gordon Tietjens is well aware that a new-look side will need to find its feet quickly if New Zealand are to kick off the new campaign in style and improve on their overall finish of fourth place.
The Dubai event, which takes place from November 30 ? December 2, once almost seemed to belong to New Zealand who won here for four successive years, from 1999 through to 2002.
But if anyone can help arguably the most famous rugby team of them all bounce back then it is Tietjens, despite further restrictions on the players available to him for selection.
A long-awaited triumph in next year's World Cup in France is the overwhelming priority for New Zealand rugby which has contracted 42 new players for the forthcoming Super 14 to cover for leading test stars when they are rested for half the competition.
Tietjens has to dig even deeper to find available players of
the requisite quality for his Sevens squad, presenting a
golden chance for a
new generation to make their mark and take another step up the
"Gordon Tietjens has been one of the great
all-time coaches in any sport,"
said Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group.
"His record is absolutely second-to-none, and I'm sure that no one is writing off New Zealand's chances in Dubai simply because of his ability to find and foster young talent into potential stars of tomorrow."
may have lost their grip on the IRB World Series but they
managed to reach the semi-finals at four of last season's tournaments. And
their finest moment came with the retention of the Commonwealth Games gold
medal in Melbourne.
"It's a mark of the high standards achieved
in recent years that four
semi-finals and fourth place in the final standings is viewed as a disappointment," added Chapman. "But I would not be at all surprised if New
Zealand are serious contenders again this time round."
Admission to the rugby extravaganza is free to the public on Thursday
(November 30) when the local, social and invitation teams are on display.
The action continues on the Friday and Saturday (December 1-2) with 16 of
the world's leading rugby Sevens teams battling it out for glory in the
Emirates International Trophy competition.
Organisers have also increased the capacity of the family area in the main
stadium to 2,000 seats.