Tietjens knighted, Bryan Williams honoured
June 2, 2013
New Zealand have farmed Sevens silverware under Sir Gordon Tietjens © Getty Images
New Zealand All Blacks Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens and All Blacks legend and former New Zealand Rugby president Bryan Williams have been honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Tiejtens was knighted and Williams received the Companion of the Order of New Zealand Merit (CNZM).
Tiejtens said of the award: "[I'm] still a bit humbled by it, it's a real shock... I'm still getting over that shock of being knighted."
Reflecting on his contribution to New Zealand rugby, the 57-year-old said: "I get more satisfaction out of someone making a Super Rugby team and going on to be an All Black than actually winning tournaments. Every time someone makes one of those sides and you see them progress, that's really pleasing from my perspective."
Tietjens remains passionate about the sport he loves, and he has hit eyes on another major honour when rugby returns to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. "Seeing a player being presented with a gold medal, hearing the anthem and the raising of the flag and the emotion that's involved, it's second to none," Tietjens said. "I can't separate any of them. It's so satisfying. When I look ahead to the Olympics that will be the pinnacle of my career as a coach."
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chairman Mike Eagle said both men richly deserved their honours. "We are immensely proud to welcome another knight to rugby and congratulate 'Beegee' on his latest honour," Eagle said. "Sir Gordon has an extraordinary record as a coach. He is undoubtedly one of the most successful coaches New Zealand has produced in any sports code - with 11 Sevens World Series titles, including this season, along with four Commonwealth Games gold medals and a World Cup. His efforts have inspired many players to take up sevens and go on to further success in fifteens so he has done much to promote the game of rugby."
NZR chief executive Steve Tew said: "We are really pleased 'Titch's efforts have been recognised in this way. His record speaks volumes for his uncanny ability to produce consistently winning teams. Not only that, he has had a huge impact on the way the game is now played and how appealing it has become to fans around the world. We have been extremely fortunate to have a coach of his calibre guiding our men's sevens since 1994 and are also pleased he is sticking with us through to Rio in 2016. So well done Titch, you are a great ambassador for rugby and fully deserve this honour."
Eagle also congratulated long-serving rugby administrator Williams, who had been honoured previously with an MBE. Williams recently stepped down after two years as NZR president and continues in his role as director of rugby for the Ponsonby Rugby Football Club, one of the oldest and most successful in the country. Williams played 113 times for New Zealand including 38 Tests and went on to a successful coaching career with Auckland, Manu Samoa and the Hurricanes.
"'Beegee' has been a wonderful ambassador for the game - an inspiring player, coach and administrator for his beloved Ponsonby club, always serving the game he loves with great passion, humility and humour," Eagle said. "He has given tirelessly to rugby over many years, and his great mana, vigour and deep rugby knowledge has been hugely valuable in growing our game here and promoting it overseas in his role as president. We are very proud his efforts have been recognised in this way."
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