Caption:New Zealand sevens reps with Fiji connections (from left), Rocky Khan, Luke Masirewa, David Raikuna and Tomasi Cama during the wellington 7s parade in New Zealand yesterday.
New Zealand’s long-time Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens is a hard-working man, in and out of the gym, and he’s also achieved all there is to achieve in the game of Sevens. It’s doubtful whether much keeps him up at night.
One constant nagging concern, though, probably induces the odd cold sweat: how long can Tomasi Cama keep going?
The wizened coach has nurtured close to 40 All Blacks through his programme since the early 1990s but, for all their brilliance, it has been the likes of Amasio Valence Raoma and now Cama who have pulled the strings and set them on their way.
What a player Cama has become. In this, arguably the toughest of all Sevens eras with the growth of the Series and the rise of Rugby Sevens as an Olympic sport, his influence on the World Series has been immeasurable.
Cama is a player who pauses to draw breath when all around him are running on empty. He is the eyes and ears that outdoes even Tietjens’ own plans out there in the middle. A rival coach recently described him as ‘the player of the generation’.
He is certainly the principle reason why New Zealand start this week as favourites to retain their Hertz Sevens title.
Time and again, he has risen to the occasion of a Cup final, judged impeccably the ebb and flow of a tournament, or single game, and struck the telling blow.
You see Cama ‘junior’ has followed in his father’s illustrious footsteps and, in doing so, has dealt with expectation his entire life.
“In a way there is a bit of extra pressure,” he said.
“But I was very fortunate he was playing for Fiji when I was growing up so I learned a lot of things from him. I learned from watching him, as well as players like Christian Cullen and Eric Rush. Titch always says our preparation is what will help us and like those guys I try to put a lot of work in behind the scenes.
“But me and my father are two different types of player and I have to concentrate on my own game. I know my strengths and weaknesses and try to keep doing what I do well and working on things I can improve on.”