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All Blacks Sevens coach Tietjens rues loss to South Africa

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allblacks.com     27 Jan 2014     Getty Images


“We lacked accuracy at in the set place and that cost us, it cost us one try at least. The guys gave us their all, but we weren’t good enough, that’s all.”

The loss was a repeat of last year’s final and was the second tournament in a row that the All Blacks Sevens have been out-punched by the Blitzbokke. The loss has cost the All Blacks Sevens their lead in the IRB Sevens World Series after four rounds with South Africa now leading by one point from New Zealand.

Tietjens said the nine game suspension handed down to strapping Canterbury forward Sam Dickson for contact with the eye area of a Fijian player in their pool game rocked the team. “It was quite disruptive to the side as we only found out fifteen minutes before the quarter final against England.”

Dickson has been a regular member of the All Blacks Sevens having won selection last season. Tietjens said Dickson was “devastated. He couldn’t believe he had to go to the citing commissioner. I really feel for the guy. He has never been the aggressor. He couldn’t even recall the incident.”

He said after careful consideration the suspension would not be appealed, ruling Dickson out of the upcoming Wellington leg. He pointed out that even if an appeal shaved several games from the penalty, Dickson could still not play the full tournament and that was not ideal.

New Zealand now heads home to the next leg of the IRB Sevens World Series and will again face Fiji, who didn’t even qualify for the quarter finals in Las Vegas, pool play along with France and Spain.

Tietjens will name his starting 12 on Thursday and it may include one of the stars of the National Sevens Akira Ioane who was originally selected for Las Vegas, but was unable to obtain correct travel documents in time.

“Akira Ioane will be a contender – he is big and fast and had a really good Nationals,” said Tietjens.

The makeup of the Wellington team will be finalised after fitness tests on Tomasi Cama and Sherwin Stowers who missed Las Vegas through injury and Ben Lam who has recovered from a serious leg injury at the tail end of last season.