New Zealand revel in superb 10th Sevens title
Six months ago all of New Zealand was popping champagne corks as the All Blacks won the country's first Rugby World Cup title in 25 years, and today there is more cause for celebration with yet another Sevens Series title captured.
Such was the scrutiny and anticipation around the World Cup win in 2011 that the levels of elation and relief almost transcended sport in New Zealand. By contrast, such is the weight of expectation around Gordon Tietjens' side that news of another Sevens success is likely to receive more muted applause, but their feats should be treasured and admired in much the same way.
Across the nine rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series no fewer than five nations won Cup titles, underlining the increasing competitiveness of the Sevens game.
Even on the final day of the season they were denied a Cup final appearance by their closest challengers Fiji, and yet Tietjens' side still came out on top across the entire season.
Six Cup final appearances and three Cup titles bear testament to the combination of talent, work ethic, mental strength and physical toughness that is still unparalleled in Rugby Sevens.
"It's pretty special, we worked extremely hard to get this one and I think everyone knows how competitive the Sevens Series is now. We came here with an 11-point lead but still with an opportunity of blowing it," said NZ captain, DJ Forbes.
"The quarter final win (36-0 against South Africa) was probably our only complete game of rugby this weekend, but there was a lot of passion, a lot behind it to make sure we wrapped up the Series.
"At the end of the day it comes down to consistency and that's where we were probably a little bit ahead, but taking nothing away from Fiji, they've done extremely well to win here.
"I guess for us you could see that we're used to playing under pressure, regardless of where we're playing. If you're wearing a black jersey everyone expects you to do well," added Forbes.
The likes of the captain Forbes, Tomasi Cama, Solomon King, Tim Mikkelson and Lote Raikabula have continued this season to maintain and even enhance the impeccable standards set by mastermind coach Gordon Tietjens.
It takes a special talent to break into the side but this season the likes of Joe Webber, Charles Piutau and Mark Jackman have all followed Frank Halai in achieving that feat.
Ominously, Forbes is no closer to hanging up his boots.
"There's definitely one more season in me, I think I've just got to make a decision whether or not to drop a code - I'm still playing 15s and Sevens - hopefully I've got four more years in me, going for the Olympics, it's possible but in saying that we'll see how we go, I've still got to keep my spot," Forbes added.
IRB Sevens roll of honour
1999/2000 - New Zealand
2000/2001 - New Zealand
2001/2002 - New Zealand
2002/2003 - New Zealand
2003/2004 - New Zealand
2004/2005 - New Zealand
2005/2006 - Fiji
2006/2007 - New Zealand
2007/2008 - New Zealand
2008/2009 - South Africa
2009/2010 - Samoa
2010/2011 - New Zealand
2011/2012 - New Zealand
- Oceania 1
- Playoff Winner
- South Africa
- Asia 1
- New Zealand
- Africa 1