Sir Gordon Tietjens will officially hold the reigns as the Manu Samoa Sevens Coach starting today.
The former New Zealand Coach brings great prestige to Samoa having four Commonwealth Games gold medals, two Rugby World Cup sevens titles and 12 World Series titles under his belt.
His much anticipated arrival has evaded us for far too long.
Due to contractual obligations and rugby politics, Tietjens was on “gardening leave” after he resigned from his post in New Zealand and then officially appointed Head Coach of the Manu Samoa in October.
Thus, Tietjens had to attend to his team from the sideline during Oceania and the first two rounds of the HSBC Series. Would the team have faired better if Tietjens made the official calls?
But we do know that there is a renewed sense of hope to see Tietjens in blue, proudly representing Samoa on the international Stage.
Although Tietjens is regarded as the Taskmaster, he is not a miracle worker.
He understands that in order to return Samoa Rugby Sevens to its former glory will require time and consistency.
“It won’t be a quick fix - there are a lot of areas which they will have to make huge shifts in. They’re mainly centered around nutrition and obviously fitness - which are so vital to the game of sevens”, he told the NZ Herald.
“A lot of planning is in place and I’m sure if we make those changes there will be a lot of benefits on the way. They need to compete at the World Series and moving on from there I want to take them to the Commonwealth Games and be successful there.”
“But long term the challenge is to get them to the Olympics. Unfortunately, Samoa’s season this year was defined by them not qualifying for Rio 2016. When they missed that they were devastated, that’s something I will look to avoid.”
He is already implementing big plans for the team. The squad will travel to Mount Maunganui for camp which will lead up to the Wellington leg at the end of January. We must wait with great anticipation to see how our boys in blue fair in Wellington under Coach Tietjens.