Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

Gordon Tietjens set to miss Dubai Sevens for first time in 25 years after leaving Samoa post

The 64-year-old coach said the uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus had played a part in his decision to step away

Gordon Tietjens has decided not to renew his contract with the Samoa rugby union. AFP
Gordon Tietjens has decided not to renew his contract with the Samoa rugby union. AFP

The most successful coach in sevens history may be absent from this year's Dubai Rugby Sevens for the first time in 25 years, after Gordon Tietjens stepped down as Samoa coach.

New Zealand won the series 12 times during Tietjens spell in charge of the team, which lasted between 1994 and 2016.

After leaving that role after the Rio Olympics, he scotched speculation that he had retired by accepting the job with Samoa.

Even though he was officially on gardening leave when the 2016-17 World Sevens Series began in Dubai, he still attended that competition.

Three years later, it has been announced he will not be continuing in the role, meaning it is unclear whether he will be here for this year’s tournament.

“[Tietjens] will not be renewing his contract with Samoa Rugby Union when it expires at the end of August 2020,” the Samoan union said in a statement.

The 64-year-old coach said the uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus had played a part in his decision to step away.

The series has four tournaments – in London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong – still outstanding, with the hope they could be rescheduled in September and October.

The second Olympic sevens event, in Tokyo, has also been delayed until 2021 because of the pandemic.

“With so much uncertainty as to when the HSBC World Sevens would continue, the best solution would be to step down to allow Samoa Rugby to plan for the future,” Tietjens said.

“With the cancellation of the Olympics and four tournaments more than likely to be cancelled from the 2019-2020 series, the timing I felt was right to step down so they could look for a new head coach.”

Updated: May 19, 2020 02:05 PM

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