Sir Gordon Tietjens has an international sevens coaching career that is yet to be matched - but he still has goals in the sport.

With more than two decades of international sevens coaching behind him, the Tauranga sevens legend's career has resulted in more than 100 international sevens tournaments and achievements that include Commonwealth Games gold medals, HSBC World Series Sevens titles and IRB Sevens World Championship titles. Through sevens, he has also helped launch the careers of All Black greats such as Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen.

As the All Blacks Sevens coach for 22 years, he has had more international success than any other sevens coach and for many, that would be a career fulfilled.

But Tietjens, now the head coach of Samoa's sevens side, wants success for his humble side.


His goal is for his side to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 before he looks at retiring.

"If I manage to do that I'll probably like to take them to the Olympics as well. So I've got two years really, this year of course and hopefully then next year," Tietjens says.

Sevens made its debut at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 when Tietjens was still with the All Blacks Sevens. New Zealand's campaign ended when they lost to eventual winners Fiji in their quarter-final and in his book Legacy, Tietjens revealed his frustrations about what lead to the team's failure in Rio.

Looking ahead, Tietjens' focus now is with Samoa.

To secure a spot at the 2020 Olympics, like every other team, Samoa needs a top-four place in the 10-tournament HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with the first round of the men's series being held in Dubai from November 30 to December 1.

With the lack of resources available for Samoa, it's not easy, he says.

"When you're seeing players being tested and having to borrow shoes and boots, it's pretty tough," Sir Gordon says.

It's a far cry from his days with the All Blacks Sevens squad, remembering when everything from boots, trainers and full training, playing and casual apparel and more being covered.


"They just don't have that backing, not being a real tier-one union.

"They basically get the bare, bare minimum, they don't even have a shoe sponsor."

He says he did manage to secure a personal sponsor for his team worth $5000 however, which means he was able to take 26 pairs of runners for his players to take to Dubai.

Coaching Samoa, has without a doubt, been a humbling experience for Sir Gordon.

"I enjoy coaching them and the benefits I get out of that really is the satisfaction of seeing these young kids making a change to their lives I suppose.

"The children there are so humbling and in Samoa they embrace the values of what family's all about and that's the beauty that I see, you know it's not about what you can earn it's about providing those players, those athletes with the satisfaction of playing for their country.

"It is tough but when you see that and you see the work they put in, with the lack of resource that they have it's pretty humbling."

It's no surprise Tietjens' life for the past 24 years has been filled with travel and since taking on Samoa, it's allowed him to be home more often, which is appealing for him.

"I weigh [retirement] up year-by-year now ... because I love spending time with my family.

He says he felt 22 years of pressure lifted off his shoulder when he went to Samoa.

"I did have a bit of an opportunity to coach Fiji but again it was a no-brainer because if I'd went there, the pressure would've remained."

He says seeing the passion the Samoan people have for the game has been an enjoyable experience.

"They're wonderful people ... they just embrace the game of sevens.

"They won the World Series in 2008, they haven't really moved on from that because all those players were snapped up by overseas clubs. There was no depth, there was no systems in place to create or build that depth," he says.

He says the game has changed so much since then, with so much analysis being done, so he is trying to help them see success again through injecting high-performance into the island and of course, the athletes.