Departing Samoa Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has been labelled as the “absolute worst” coach the team has ever had by former XVs star Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu. The former Gloucester centre shared Tweets and articles dating back to the appointment of Tietjens in 2016 which outlined the reservations he had about the coach.


Fuimaono-Sapolu said “the most expensive coach we have ever had turned out to be the absolute worst we have ever had”.

Tietjens was named Samoa’s coach after the 2016 Olympics, which brought to an end his 17-career with New Zealand, whereby he won the World Rugby Sevens Series twelve times.

His record in sevens is unmatched, and it was hoped that he would revive the Samoan sevens team, who had slumped in the seasons preceding 2016 after winning the series in 2010.

Fuimaono-Sapolu’s criticism surrounded the linguistic barrier Tietjens faced, as well as starkly different resources and cultures between the two countries. His main qualm though was how he was to be paid more than any government official.

The Kiwi’s time in charge was not as successful as many would have wanted, with a sixth-place finish in 2019 being his best return. The 23-cap Samoa international has also retweeted posts he made last year, which shows that this has been a long-held view of his. The post said: “Tietjens is turning into the worst coach Samoa has EVER had. His record is abysmal. Unbelievably, he is being paid more than all the previous Samoan coaches combined.”


The 64-year-old Tietjens stood down from his post due to the uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sevens series has already been suspended, and there is not yet any sign as to when it will resume, and with the Olympics postponed to 2021, the coach felt this was the best time to move on.

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