Gordon Tietjens steps down as New Zealand sevens coach

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New Zealand head coach Gordon Tietjens.

New Zealand head coach Gordon Tietjens. (Photo: Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Gordon Tietjens is retiring as New Zealand's sevens rugby coach after 22 years during which he played a major role in the development of a sport which made its Olympics debut this year.

The 60-year-old Tietjens told a news conference Tuesday it was time for someone with new ideas to take charge of the New Zealand team.

His retirement follows New Zealand's unsuccessful campaign at the Rio Olympics. New Zealand was seen as a strong medal chance but lost its opening match to Japan before being eliminated by gold medalist Fij in the quarterfinals.

While New Zealand, under Tietjens, has won the Sevens World Series 12 times since its inception in 1999, it has not won the title for the past two years.

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