NZ Seven not to rely on stars
February 3, 2000
New Zealand Sevens captain Eric Rush today warned his players not to rely too much on All Black superstars Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen in the World Sevens tournament being held in Wellington this weekend.
New Zealand,joint leaders with Fiji after 4 rounds, have drafted in Lomu and Cullen to bolster their chances in their home leg of the 10-round series.
But after rushing to mould the All Black pair into the sevens swing during training this week , Rush cautioned they could not do the job alone and called for a better team effort than when Lomu and Cullen last played sevens in the 1998 Commonwealth Games gold medal winning side.
'Looking back at the games, I didn't think we played that well.We had some good individuals and and they got us through the whole tournament,' Rush said,' This time around I would like us to play a better team game.When we went to South America , we didn't know several of the names we had there, but they still played pretty well . We dropped the second tournament , and that wasn't good. But to win one and and make the final of the other overall wasn't too bad.Without Jonah , Christian, Orene Ai'i and the other Super 12 guys we had to play more as a team because we couldn't rely on one guy to break all the time.'
Coach Gordon Tietjens was a little worried after a half-hearted New Zealand effort in a practice game against Uruguay , but found some consolation in two similar uninspiring efforts, ' I can remember Malaysia running in five tries against us before the Commonwealth Games in 1998 , and Spain doing the same before a Hong Kong tournament -and we won both. I believe I've got them as right as they can be, given the short time together.'