Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Rugby sevens: Confirmed - Gordon Tietjens says yes to Samoa

Gordon Tietjens. Photo / Andrew Warner
Gordon Tietjens. Photo / Andrew Warner

Sir Gordon Tietjens has been confirmed as Samoa's new sevens coach this morning.

Tietjens, who is in the country meeting staff and inspecting facilities, was picured this morning wearing a Manu Samoa T-shirt.

As reported by the Herald yesterday, his capture is a coup for the Pacific Island nation after the hugely successful coach parted ways with New Zealand Rugby following the Olympics.

Kenya were also in the running for the 60-year-old, but Tietjens clearly wants to operate closer to home.

Samoa rugby officials believe Tietjens, who led New Zealand to 12 world series titles and four Commonwealth Games gold medals, has the ability to get the best out of the players and coaches in Samoa, as well as initiate a world-class development programme. Samoa finished ninth at the last world series and didn't qualify for the Olympics.

The Samoa Rugby Union's high performance centre in Tuana'imato, a 15-minute drive from Apia, is a modest facility but there is no shortage of enthusiasm and talent. The players work out in a modest breeze block gym, with plenty of ventilation due to the year-round humidity, next to two playing fields.

Tietjens is likely to enjoy the centralised set-up after the challenges he faced in New Zealand keeping track of players around the country. In an interview with the Bay of Plenty Times last month, Tietjens said: "That is definitely the key to the future. It is something that I have been a little disappointed about that we have not moved as quick as some of those nations.

"In Australia if you make the sevens team you live in Sydney, in South Africa you live in Stellenbosch and in Kenya it is Nairobi. It just goes on and on.
"There must be some advantages with that."

- NZ Herald

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