Gordon Tietjens quits New Zealand sevens role after 22 years in charge

Tietjens is the most successful coach in the history of rugby sevens.

Story highlights

  • Gordon Tietjens quits New Zealand sevens
  • Most successful coach in sevens history

(CNN)He's the man who transformed the world of rugby and discovered the prodigious talent of Jonah Lomu -- but after 22 years at the top, Gordon Tietjens has called time on his illustrious coaching career.

The 60-year-old, who led the New Zealand men's sevens team to 12 World Series titles, four Commonwealth gold medals and two World Cup crowns, made the announcement Tuesday.
    Tietjens, the most successful coach in sevens history, says he will remain involved in coaching but that the time for a new era has arrived after his side endured a disappointing Olympic Games.
    "I love the sevens game and I'm immensely proud of what I've achieved and what all our players have been able to achieve in my time with the team," Tietjens said in a statement.
    "We were all incredibly disappointed with our results in Rio, but we have to acknowledge just how far sevens rugby has come. It's become intensely competitive and the Olympics proved just how tough it is to win at this level these days. I'm sure lessons will be learned and I wish my successor all the best for the Sevens Series ahead and for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
    Lomu praises historic rugby coach
    Lomu praises historic rugby coach

      JUST WATCHED

      Lomu praises historic rugby coach

    MUST WATCH

    Lomu praises historic rugby coach 06:05
    "I've loved my time in sevens and I aim to still be involved in some capacity. I'm now working through what those next steps are.
    "I'm grateful to New Zealand Rugby for the support they've given me over the years. I want to especially acknowledge the management team and all the players who have contributed to the success of New Zealand sevens during the last 22 years. I have so many great memories from what's been an amazing time with the team."
    Tietjens, nicknamed "Titch," is credited with not only revolutionizing the sevens game but with creating a whole new generation of All Black stars -- including one of the game's greatest in Lomu.
    Christian Cullen, Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and Beauden Barrett all passed through Tietjens' school of excellence on their way to representing the 15-a-side team.
    World Cup winner who helped rugby sevens' Olympic rise
    spc cnn world rugby cheryl mcafee_00012202

      JUST WATCHED

      World Cup winner who helped rugby sevens' Olympic rise

    MUST WATCH

    World Cup winner who helped rugby sevens' Olympic rise 03:45
    "Titch has guided the All Blacks Sevens team through more than 100 international tournaments, a remarkable achievement that may never be equaled," New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew added.
    "The number of former sevens players who've gone on to become All Blacks speaks for itself and demonstrates the incredible impact that Titch has had on our game.
    "To put the length of his career into context, when he first began in this role rugby was an amateur game, Jim Bolger was Prime Minister and several members of the current All Blacks Sevens team hadn't even been born.
    "New Zealand Rugby and our country owe him a debt of gratitude for the legacy he's left behind and all the memories and careers he's shaped along the way."