Samoa have confirmed the appointment of Sir Gordon Tietjens as the new head coach of their national Sevens side.
The announcement was made in Apia on Friday and Tietjens, who was in charge of the All Black Sevens team for 22 years before stepping down from that role earlier this year, is excited by his new challenge.
“I am hugely excited to be joining the boys in blue,” he said.
“Samoa Sevens has always represented their country with pride, passion and a great natural talent in rugby and I am massively motivated to help them achieve their goal to be a consistent top performer on the world stage.”
The 60-year-old’s appointment was announced by Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also the chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union.
“We know that there was much competition to secure the services of such a prestigious figure in world rugby sevens,” he said.
“In entrusting our beloved Sevens team to Sir Gordon, we know we have a coach who understands how important rugby is to our people, and he has a deep appreciation for how to get the best out of the talent we know we have”.
Tietjens was reportedly also in negotiations to become Kenya’s Sevens head coach but according to a Daily Nation report in Kenya a press conference planned to announce him as that country’s head coach was called off “two hours before it could begin” when it emerged that the veteran coach would be taking over the reins with Samoa’s Sevens team.
Tietjens will be helped by assistant coach Stephen Betham and Ramsay Tomokino has been appointed as team manager.
During his stint as New Zealand Sevens head coach, Tietjens led them to four Commonwealth Games gold medals, 12 World Rugby Sevens Series titles and two Sevens World Championship titles, becoming the most successful coach of all time in the abbreviated form of the game.
He was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2012 and knighted for his contribution to rugby 12 months later. Many great All Blacks have emerged from the teams he has coached including Jonah Lomu, Christian Cullen, Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett.