The much anticipated HSBC World Series Wellington is 22 days away and we can hardly wait.
Now that Sir Gordon Tietjens is the official Head Coach for the Manu Samoa Sevens ,there is great expectation for the team to fare better than they did in the previous legs.
The Manu Samoa Sevens kick off their campaign for glory against… New Zealand!
As fate would have it, the newly instated coach will kick off his career as Manu Samoa Sevens Coach against his former side of 22 years.
For an entire 14 minutes, the gloves are off, bonds created during his tenure have ceased and all that matters is coming out with a win.
It gets better.
There is also a point to prove for Tietjens as New Zealand sabotaged the Manu Samoa Sevens team by preventing Tietjens from taking his rightful place as Head Coach until this year.
“I did find it a bit hurtful, to be told I couldn’t go to Samoa to coach and that I would effectively miss the first two tournaments - I thought maybe 22 years would count for something, “ Sir Tietjens told the New Zealand Herald.
He travelled with the team to Oceania, and the first to legs of the HSBC World Series as an “Observer”. Now he can officially stand at the helm and lead the men in blue from front and center rather than from the background.
Therefore, this match will be an intense fiery matchup against the two Pacific nations.
However, the Manu have confronted the New Zealand side before in a prior match in Dubai leg.
The Manu Samoa Sevens had New Zealand by their tailcoat in Dubai. The men in blue scored two tries in overtime and lost with a close final score of 26-21.
Even then, Manu Samoa management said the fact that New Zealand and Tietjens have ties does not mean that they will change their game plan.
Interim Head Coach at the time, Stephen Betham, told the Samoa Observer, “the way we will approach New Zealand is no different from how we will approach England and Russia.
“If there is anything we have talked about in the last week is everything we do is for and about the team. Titch (Tietjens) has also emphasized that together everyone achieves more.
“As new management we believe that there are a lot of aspects but the most important and crucial at the moment for us is the fitness and strength of the players so that we can play with the same intensity from game 1 through to the last game 6.”
The Manu Samoa Seven’s will kick off the Wellington leg against New Zealand at 12.41pm (local time).