Baptism of fire awaits Tietjens

Date published: January 7 2017

New Manu Samoa Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens is set to face his former New Zealand side at the Wellington leg of the World Series in February.

Samoa start off their campaign against New Zealand, a team Tietjens coached for 22 years and left after the Rio Olympics last year.

The fact that New Zealand then prevented Tietjens from becoming head coach of Samoa untill this year, forcing him to miss the first two tournaments, will add further spice to the encounter.

"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," Tietjens told the New Zealand Herald.

He travelled with the team to Oceania, and the first two legs of the World Series as an "observer". However, the Samoans will not alter their approach just because Tietjens used to coach New Zealand.

Interim Head Coach, 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 emphasised 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 one through to the last game."