Tietjens hoping to pull Super 14 players out

New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens is hoping to get the Super 14 players he wants released during the Super 14 for the Sevens World Cup in March.

Tietjens should know next week which, if any, Super 14 players are available for New Zealand’s World Cup assault in Dubai from March 5-7.

Tietjens will only be permitted to select one player from each of of New Zealand’s five franchises so he has nominated up to five players at each of the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders that he is interested in and expects to hear results via the New Zealand Rugby Union next week.

The process can cause some unhappiness as it did in 2005 when several leading players such as All Blacks wingers Joe Rokocoko, Rico Gear and Caleb Ralph rejected the offer.

In the end Tietjens took just three Super 12 players to Hong Kong – Blues winger Rudi Wulf, Highlanders flanker Josh Blackie and Crusaders forward George Naoupu.

This year he is in the dark over the level of player interest as he has no direct contact with players. The NZRU acts as an intermediary.

“It will depend on what direction the player wants to go,” Tietjens told NZPA.

“As an example, if Liam Messam feels that he’s just cracked the All Blacks, he might want to really concentrate on Super 14 at that time of year and therefore not be considered.

“On the other hand he may say ‘I’m really keen to have a crack at the World Cup’.

“They may talk to their peers, their coaches, (All Blacks coach) Graham Henry. I’m not sure what the process is.

“All I’ve done is express an interest in these players and I’m just waiting for an answer.”

For any player or franchise that agrees, Tietjens then has to assess their physical and mental state ahead of the rigorous sevens-specific training his team go through.

“I’d have to be quite confident that that player could make the transition to sevens in that short space of time.

“Some can and some can’t and that’s exactly what I face for the Commonwealth Games as well.”

Any player he selects would also miss two or three early rounds of the Super 14 as Tietjens will need them for full time training over that period.



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