Wellington the catalyst for All Blacks Sevens dominance

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James Mortimer     10 Jan 2015     Getty Images

The first edition of Wellington in 2000 saw New Zealand reach the final, but Fiji, probably considered the power at the time, triumphed thanks to the triple threat of their flyers – with the iconic Waisale Serevi, Marika Vunibaka and Vilimoni Delasau contributing all the points.

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Mils Muliaina and Karl Te Nana would score in a 24-14 loss, indicative of some of the star power in the team as we entered the 21st century.

At the time, Fiji were World Cup Sevens champions, and had won three straight Hong Kong crowns from 1997 to 1999, which at the time was the barometer of success in the abbreviated game.

Sir Gordon Tietjens however was a rising force, maybe not tinted with the legendary aura he has today (still to claim the first of 12 series titles), but guiding Bay of Plenty to the Melrose Sevens title 1992 – the first and last time a New Zealand Sevens team won the oldest international tournament in the sport, his pedigree was clear.

Success in the 1998 Commonwealth Games, claiming the inaugural series title in 2000 (the first of six straight series title) and glory at the 2001 World Cup Sevens showcased ‘Titches’ prowess to the international stage.

However Wellington was tricky.

The All Blacks Sevens had a stranglehold on the series, with only Fiji breaking their overall title run in mid-2006.

However in 2001 and 2002, New Zealand failed to reach the Cup Final in the southern hemisphere's version of the windy city.

Normal service (at least as far as the locals were concerned) resumed in 2003, when the likes of Liam Messam, Tafai Ioasa, Roy Kinikinilau and Anthony Tuiatavake began their rugby education, using the Sevens arena to push claims.

Three straight titles would follow, with the All Blacks Sevens conquering Argentina 31-7 in the Cup Final in 2005, with the South Americans becoming the sixth country to reach the final match in Wellington in the short history of the event.

In 2006 again the home outfit would miss out on the Cup decider, with Fiji beating South Africa 27-22. The following year Samoa would meet their Pacific Island neighbours and take the Cup crown 17-14.

The 2008 Wellington Sevens, where Fiji joined New Zealand to become just the second team to score 1,000 group stage points in the global series, saw for the second straight season, a champion defeated in the Cup final.

The following year England joined the burgeoning list of core Sevens nations to lift a Cup, beating the hosts 19-17, and in 2010 another Pacific final entertained the crowd, with Fiji taking down Samoa 19-14.

In 2011 the All Blacks Sevens were imperious all the way to the trophy dais, with the English managing to get the closest of any team in the Cup closer, with Tietjens troops winning 29-14.

Samoa, France, England and Fiji were accounted for in 2012 as the hosts went back-to-back.

The next season it was all about Kenya.

The south-eastern African country killed numerous giants.

Emerging unbeaten from a pool containing Argentina, Tonga and the French, the Republic of Kenya then were victorious over South Africa and New Zealand before losing 19-24 to England in the Cup decider.

Last year the All Blacks Sevens recovered from a pool loss to Fiji to put together a new World Sevens Series record for the most points scored and least conceded in the knockout stages.

The home side beat Canada 24-0, England 31-0 and South Africa 21-0 to win their seventh overall title.

They will look to defend their crown, and win their first Cup of the 2014/2015 season, as the 16th Wellington Sevens kicks off in less than a month’s time.