The International Rugby Board has inducted New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens into the IRB Hall of Fame.
IRB and IRB Hall of Fame Chairman Bernard Lapasset presented the commemorative cap and gold pin to Tietjens at an awards ceremony at Twickenham Stadium, shortly after his team had clinched the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series. Tietjens is the 49th inductee into the IRB Hall of Fame.
In all, it was a 10th World Series title for Tietjens, who has been head coach of the New Zealand Sevens side since 1994, in which time 37 All Blacks have passed through his tough regime.
Tietjens' roll of honour is without peer in Sevens, and perhaps in the Game of Rugby as a whole. As well as 10 World Series titles, he has also won a Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2001 and all four Commonwealth Games gold medals contested to date.
He recently signed a contract extension that will see him lead his country's men's Sevens side to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"It's just really humbling and quite special really, I'm shocked to be recognised for my contribution to Sevens Rugby," said Tietjens afterwards.
"I can only thank the players that have been a big part of my life, the players that have contributed to the successes in the game that I have had."
Usually inductees to the IRB Hall of Fame are required to have stepped down from active duty in playing or coaching for at least three years before being considered for induction. However, the IRB Hall of Fame panel viewed Tietjens’ achievements to date as so outstanding that, in his individual case, they were willing to overlook that criteria for induction.
New Zealand's Rugby World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry was one of the first to pay tribute to Tietjens.
"Congratulations Gordon on your induction to the IRB Hall of Fame, you've been a great ambassador for the game. All those World Series and Commonwealth titles, very special. It's a huge award and very well deserved," said Henry, who called Tietjens in before the 2011 World Cup to help condition the All Blacks.
Tietjens' peers in the Sevens game also joined in congratulating him on the honour.
"Gordon has been around for so many years and I think any coach aspires to achieve similar success," said his South African counterpart, Paul Treu.
England Sevens coach Ben Ryan added: "Gordon has a tried and trusted formula that nobody can argue hasn't worked over the last decade. Even if you know what's coming, it's still pretty hard to deal with and that's why Gordon has won world titles."
IRB Hall of Fame Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "In 2016 Rugby Sevens will take its place alongside the world's biggest sports on the grandest sporting stage and that is in no small way down to Gordon Tietjens.
"For many years his New Zealand side has been the standard bearer for the game and, through his knowledge, passion and expertise, he has driven the standards towards what we now celebrate as a truly global game of Sevens.
"On behalf of the International Rugby Board, I would like to thank Gordon for his outstanding service to Rugby, both in New Zealand and around the world."