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Tietjens celebrates birthday in style

Published: 10:39AM Monday December 10, 2012

New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens celebrated his 57th birthday in style today with his fourth consecutive South African title.

The crushing 47-12 final win over France increased the All Blacks Sevens lead to 14 points on the World Series ladder and afforded Tietjens a rare smile.

"Yeah it's great. It's four years and it's a pretty good birthday present really but in saying that they (New Zealand) played particularly well today," Tietjens said.

"They were outstanding today. Starting with Wales in the quarter-final, played particularly well against Africa in a close encounter and to finish off like that was awesome.

"Awesome for the new young players but that core group of experienced players I have I thought was outstanding today."

Kurt Baker was the star of the show with a hat-trick of tries which made a mockery of his non-selection in New Zealand's five Super Rugby teams.

"Yeah Kurt has made the transition from 15s, back into the Sevens mould," Tietjens said.

"He didn't get picked up by a Super Rugby team so that's awesome. He is a great Sevens player, works very, very hard and is rewarded with all the tries that he gets."

France paid the price for a gruelling 12-7 semi-final extra time win over Argentina which lasted an energy-sapping 24 minutes.

"We wanted to speed it up. We probably underestimated them a little bit but we have a lot of respect for France because you never know what they're going to come out and do.

"They are a good side, they have been there or thereabouts throughout the World Series this year so an awesome performance from my side but I will also compliment France on how they played."

France's final placing lifted them to second place on the World Series ladder with 46 points but New Zealand, with 60 points, are in the box seat for yet another title.

Tietjens though, who is the ever realist, remains grounded with six tournaments still to go.

"Nothing is a handsome lead. It's a pretty tough World Series but to be out in front before we hit Wellington it's an awesome place to be," he said.

"You never want to start slow in the World Series but to be there or thereabouts is pretty good at the moment."

The New Zealand team will now take a well-deserved break before resuming training after Christmas for the Wellington tournament.

The 14th annual Wellington Sevens runs from February 1-2.