Maestro Tietjens eyes role in charge of HK

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2007, 12:00am

The most successful coach in sevens history, Gordon Tietjens, would like to coach Hong Kong after his New Zealand contract runs out next year.

Tietjens has always had a soft spot for Hong Kong and has been willing to share his knowledge with local coaches - last month Hong Kong sevens coach Rodney McIntosh was involved in a training camp with Tietjens and his squad.

'My contract with New Zealand rugby ends in September 2008. I will look at my options then, and one such option would be to work with the so-called minnows of sevens rugby, teams like Hong Kong, Kenya, Taiwan or even Portugal,' said Tietjens, who in 1994 won the first of his 50 tournament titles, winning the Hong Kong Sevens.

'None of these countries can be really competitive at 15s rugby, but in sevens they can make their mark and I would love to be involved. This is all further down the patch, but I will seriously look at coaching off-shore,' Tietjens said.

New Zealand's 24-19 Cup triumph over hosts South Africa in George last December, in the second leg of the IRB Sevens, racked up a half-century of titles for Tietjens. It is a landmark unlikely to be matched by any of his peers.

'I'm proud of this achievement. I didn't realise it was my 50th tournament title until afterwards. It has been highly satisfying personally as well as the fact I have been involved in bringing on a number of young, exciting players,' said Tietjens, who is in his 14th consecutive season as coach.

Tietjens, 50, has been credited with unearthing star All Blacks such as Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen, both of whom made stunning debuts in Hong Kong in the early 1990s.

Tietjens has begun his meticulous build-up for the March 30 - April 1 Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens, assembling a 17-strong squad at Mt Maunganui, on New Zealand's North Island, for a four-day training camp. He will announce his final 12 players for the next two legs of the IRB Sevens - Hong Kong and Adelaide - on Friday.

The New Zealand squad, expected to be once again led by Tafai Ioasa, will arrive in Hong Kong on Sunday seeking to win their first Hong Kong Sevens title since 2001.