Hong Kong Sevens


PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 March, 2006, 12:00am


Behind every great team is a great coach and they don't come any greater than New Zealand's Gordon Tietjens, England's Joe Lydon and Fijian Kitione Vesikula Tuibua. All three have done the Hong Kong hat-trick, leading their nations to treble triumphs.

Tuibua led Fiji to victories in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The jovial Tuibua is credited with inventing the sweeper system in sevens - having six players across the field in a line with a lone fullback to counter the kick-and-chase. His protege Waisale Serevi played the sweeper role to devastating effect.

Tietjens led New Zealand to a hat-trick in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Tietjens took over as Kiwi sevens coach in 1994 when he brought a young Jonah Lomu. They proved an unbeatable combination for those three years.

Tietjens has won everything there is to win in sevens - the World Cup in 2001, five Hong Kong Sevens titles and three Commonwealth Games gold medals as well as engineering the Kiwis' domination of the IRB Sevens for the past six seasons.

Lydon, a former rugby league player, used his experience and a player - Henry Paul - from that code as England triumphed in 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Tietjens is the only coach returning this weekend. Lydon left to join the England XVs set-up in 2004, while Tuibua died on New Year's Day 2003, aged 49.