Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
These days life is all about FAQ's; so to clear the air for those people who have often asked me just 'how many 15s All Blacks have first come through the Gordon Tietjens sevens coaching teams?' here is the full and definitive list.
Note; While it is true Gordon has been coaching the New Zealand sevens team since 1994 his first involvement with a national sevens selection actually came a year earlier in 1993.
[In the lists which follow an * asterisk means a player had been a 15s All Black before being selected by Gordon Tietjens in an All Black sevens rugby team. (which means prominent sevens players like Eric Rush and Dallas Seymour do NOT count in a Tietjens' sevens 'list.']
(GT took NZ7s 'B' team to Fiji) with Eroni Clarke* and Todd Blackadder
(NZ team to Fiji and Hong Kong) with Eric Rush*, Graeme Bachop*, Jonah Lomu and Dallas Seymour*.
(NZ team to Uruguay, Argentina, Fiji, Hong Kong and Japan) with Andrew Blowers, Adrian Cashmore, Christian Cullen, Roger Randle and Joeli Vidiri.
(NZ team to Uruguay, Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan and World Cup qualifying in Portugal) with Glen Osborne* and Caleb Ralph.
(NZ team to Fiji, the 2nd Rugby World Cup in Hong Kong and Japan) with Norm Berryman, Rhys Duggan (10)and Alama Ieremia*
(NZ team to Hong Kong, Japan, Jerusalem and 1st Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur) with Troy Flavell, Rico Gear and Bruce Reihana)
(NZ team to IRB World Series I (8 events) and the Sydney Sevens) with Mils Muliaina, Craig Newby, and Paul Steinmetz
(NZ team to IRB World Series II (10 events) with Rodney So'oialo and with NZ team to the 3rd Rugby World Cup in Mar del Plata.)
2001/02 (NZ team to IRB World Series III (9 events) with Chris Masoe and Kevin Senio.
(NZ team to IRB World Series IV (12 events) and the 2nd Commonwealth Games in Manchester) with Nick Evans, Joe Rokocoko and Anthony Tuitavake
(NZ team to IRB World Series V (7 events) with Liam Messam, Hosea Gear and Scott Waldrom
(NZ team to IRB World Series VI (8 events) with Sosene Anesi, Tanerau Latimer and Ma'a Nonu*.
(NZ team to IRB World Series VII (8 events) and the 4th Rugby World Cup in Hong Kong) with Rudi Wulf, Jerome Kaino*, Mark Ranby* Tamati Ellison and Isaia Toeava.
(NZ team to IRB World Series VIII (8 events) and the 3rd Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.) with Cory Jane.
(NZ team to IRB World Series IX (8 events) with Jarrad Hoeata, Adam Thomson, Rene Ranger and Ben Atiga*
(NZ team to IRB World Series X (8 events) with Israel Dagg and Victor Vito .
(NZ team to IRB World Series XI (8 events) and the 5th Rugby World Cup in Dubai) with Julian Savea.
(NZ team to IRB World Series XII (8 events) and the 4th Commonwealth Games in Delhi) with Beauden Barrett, Zac Guildford* and Ben Smith*
(NZ team to IRB World Series XIII (8 events) with Frank Halai
(NZ team to IRB World Series XIV (9 events) and 6th Rugby World Cup in Moscow) with Charles Piutau and Ardie Savea ('Apprentice All Black' so far)
(NZ team to IRB World Series XV (9 events) and to 5th Commonwealth Games, Glasgow) No more All Blacks 15s players at time of writing.
(NZ team to World Rugby (formerly IRB) World Series XVI) No more All Blacks 15s players at time of writing.
TOTAL; Tietjens 7s selections who became 15s ALL BLACKS after being first picked by GT; (+ 1; ARDIE SAVEA - not quite 15s All Black - he toured as an 'apprentice' 15s All Black in 2013) )
= 40 (+1 Ardie Savea)
(plus 12 in his 7s teams who were already 15s All Blacks)
= 52 (+ Ardie Savea)
Keith Arnold was a flanker who played in such a fiery manner an Aussie commentator Bill Cerutti called him a 'Killer' in 1947. The name stuck!
It was with great sadness but with a sense of inevitability that the famous Athletic Park ground in Wellington, New Zealand was pulled down in 2000. For over 100 years it had been known as the ‘Home of Rugby in New Zealand’.
Situated in the base of a high-sided valley running down to Cook Strait, Athletic Park was always in an exposed position, and was battered many times over the years by ferocious Wellington winds. The salty spray contributed to decay in the metallic stability of the double-tiered Millard Stand and after much local angst a decision was made to abandon the site for rugby and move to a new stadium in the city area of Wellington.
While there were many famous days on the superb playing surface, for both Wellington and All Black rugby, it is for its most infamous bad weather days that many remember Athletic Park most fondly.
The worst came in 1961 when the Wellington Rugby Union’s new pride and joy – the Millard Stand – was being ofﬁcially opened on the day of the France v New Zealand match. The southerly storm that weekend brought in winds gusting up to 80 mph (140 km/h) – one of the worst days in Wellington’s history. A large luxury liner, the Canberra, was so buffeted in Cook Strait that the ship could not enter the harbour, just a few miles away. Yet in this tempest a test match was played!
New Zealand won 5–3, with Don Clarke, the All Black fullback, kicking a sideline conversion that travelled across the wind in a crazy curving arc.
Athletic Park has also had its moments in the mud, no more so than in 1977 when the British Lions played the New Zealand Juniors. Not a single player from either side could be recognised at the end of the game.
But Athletic Park could be as effective a playing location as anywhere in the world and on its many top days, presented a ﬂat true ground and seating for the fans that was always close to the action. The record attendance was the 57,000 who crammed in to watch the second test between New Zealand and the British Isles in 1959.
New Zealand played its ﬁrst home test match at Athletic Park, against Great Britain in 1904. In the 1980s the All Blacks scored some handsome wins on the ground, including 42–15 v England in 1985, 46–15 v Argentina in the World Cup in 1987, and 49–12 v Argentina in 1989. In 1992 New Zealand beat a strong World XV 54–26 and in 1997 they posted the highest test score on the ground, beating Argentina by 93-8.
In its last years it became obvious that the facilities which are needed to service a modern rugby match were not all present at Athletic Park. It had very poor players’ changing rooms; there was one shabby function room and no permanent corporate boxes. And though there were some fierce debates about the ground’s future, the advantages of a new stadium in the city were overwhelming. The last test match was played on June 1999. Fittingly the All Blacks gave the old ground a great send off, beating France 54-7.
How many players of Samoan-birth or Samoan heritage have captained the All Blacks in tests? Name them.