March 26 1983
Sevens debut for Gordon Tietjens.
In 1983 New Zealand sent, for the first time, a representative team to the Hong Kong Sevens. In previous years the provincial union that had won the national sevens tournament had represented New Zealand at the tournament.
New Zealand cruised through pool play but were beaten 0 – 4 by Western Samoa in their quarter final. But in that beaten team was a 27 year old loose forward Gordon Tietjens, selected from Waikato, who went on to an absolutely outstanding career as the New Zealand Sevens coach.
New Zealand’s 1983 results.
Beat Bahrain 22 – 0
Beat Singapore 48 – 0
Beat Korea 18 – 0
Beat American Eagles 26 – 0
Lost American Samoa 0 – 4.
The Samoans lost their semi-final to Australia who then went on to beat Fiji 14 – 4 in the final.
Sir Gordon Frederick Tietjens KNZM (born 9 December 1955) is the current coach of New Zealand‘s men’s national team in rugby sevens, the All Blacks Sevens. When the International Rugby Board inducted him into the IRB Hall of Fame in May 2012, it said that “Tietjens’ roll of honour is without peer in Sevens, and perhaps in the Game of Rugby as a whole.” According to Spiro Zavos, Tietjens is “The greatest of all the Sevens coaches”. As of his induction, he had coached the All Blacks Sevens to 10 series titles in the IRB Sevens World Series, the Rugby World Cup Sevens crown in 2001, and gold medals in four of the five Commonwealth Games in which the sport had been contested, losing the 2014 final in Glasgow. He has also added two more IRB Sevens series titles (2013 and 2014), and a second Rugby World Cup Sevens crown (also in 2013).
Tietjens has coached many young players who have gone on to become All Blacks, including Christian Cullen, Jonah Lomu, Joe Rokocoko, Mils Muliaina, Rico Gear, Cory Jane, Ben Smith, and Liam Messam. As of June 2010 Tietjens has coached 36 players who have gone on to become All Blacks in the 15-a-side game.
Tietjens is currently assisted by Eric Rush, a former long-serving captain of the New Zealand Sevens team and a former Sevens star himself. In 2012, his contract as the NZ Sevens coach was extended through to 2016. This allows Tietjens to be part of Sevens rugby’s first inclusion in the Olympic Games.
In the New Year Honours 1999, Tietjens was appointed a Member of The New Zealand Order of Merit, in theNew Year Honours 2007, he was elevated to Companion of the same order, and in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2013, Tietjens was further promoted to a Knight Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit.
There may be more to come in the Tietjens’ story. The current New Zealand Sevens team is a close 3rd on the World Sevens Series points table for 2015-2016 and has won three of the last four tournaments. They are well placed to be among the strongest of contenders for the first Olympic Games Sevens title, and success would be no more than their coach deserves.