December 19 - China and the United States have started planning for the debut of rugby sevens at the Olympics in 2016 by both approaching New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens (pictured).

Tietjens' contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NRZU) expires after the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next year and is currently negotiating to extend it.

But the 54-year-old knows that if an agreement cannot be reached then he will not be short of offers.

The persistent rumours of a major rugby sevens tournament being staged in London to coincide with the Olympics in 2012 has meant several countries have already begun planning for the future.
Tietjens said: "So there's a renewed sense of urgency in some countries who want to start organising their programmes now.

"Opportunities are opening up everywhere.

"It's not only in China and the United States, but other countries are getting ready now."

Singapore has advertised for a coach and it is understood former All Blacks number eight Murray Mexted, who runs a rugby academy that caters for young 15-a-side aspirants, is their number one choice.

Tietjens has led New Zealand’s dominating run in the world of sevens since 1994.

He has been the sevens coach since 1994, winning three Commonwealth Games gold medals and rugby’s first in 1998.

New Zealand have won the opening two tournaments of the International Rugby Board World Sevens series in Dubai and George, South Africa, enhancing Tietjens' reputation.

He said: "There's a real shortage of sevens specialist expertise.

"Opportunities are opening up all over the show."

But Tietjens claims to stay in his present role.

He said: "I have a couple of meetings scheduled early next year with the NZRU high performance unit.

"They will be very important meetings.

"I should find out strategically where sevens sits with them and make my decision after that."

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