Sevens growth obvious with Olympic focus

Getty Images     10 Dec 2012     Getty Images

Tietjens has captured 10 World Series titles, a Sevens World Cup and four Commonwealth titles.

But the NZ mastermind has also unwittingly produced a new batch of specialist Sevens coaches and Performance Directors in other countries, all desperately trying to emulate his feats, and ultimately capture the first Rugby Sevens gold medal for men's athletes in Rio in 2016.

The pioneering country in the chasing pack is South Africa, who moved to set up a full-time squad under coach Paul Treu as long ago as 2007, two years before the Olympic decision.

The first full-time professional Sevens outfit, South Africa's squad is based out of Stellenbosch and has formed a blue print which has since been copied abroad.

"It was a huge step taken by the management of SARU to allow players to play Sevens and be contracted and available full time for the Series, which is something that we had struggled with in the past. That decision was monumental back in 2007," said Seb Prim, the country's Manager of the Rugby Sevens.

"The Olympic decision was massive in South Africa. We have a proud Olympic culture, a proud national culture and to be able to play rugby at the biggest sporting event in the world is an incredible opportunity.

"Combining the Olympics with Rugby allows us to market the Game, to tap into resources from our Olympic Committee that otherwise wouldn't have been possible. It's a massive bonus for us but we are taking nothing for granted."

For some countries on the World Series, the Sevens being in the Olympic Games offers a first ever chance of an Olympic medal.

"Samoa haven't won an Olympic medal but 2016 will be a good chance for us to win one," said Samoa team manager Fataalii Milovale Moke.

"The whole country is looking forward to that 2016 Olympic Sevens event as a chance.

"Right now we are starting our preparation and training our young players, so come 2016 they are well prepared for that event."