Gordon Tietjens

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Sir Gordon Tietjens
Gordon Tietjens 2013.jpg
Tietjens in Fiji
Birth nameGordon Frederick Tietjens
Date of birth (1955-12-09) 9 December 1955 (age 64)
Place of birthRotorua, New Zealand
Rugby union career
Position(s) Coach
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty[1]
National sevens team(s)
Years Team Comps
1983 New Zealand 1
Teams coached
Years Team
New Zealand
Bay of Plenty

Sir Gordon Frederick Tietjens /ˈtɪənz/ KNZM (born 9 December 1955) is head coach of the Samoa rugby sevens team, and a celebrated former coach of the New Zealand men's national team in rugby sevens, the All Blacks Sevens.[2] 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."[3] According to Spiro Zavos, Tietjens is "The greatest of all the Sevens coaches".[4]

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.[3] He has also added two more IRB Sevens series titles (2013 and 2014), and a second Rugby World Cup Sevens crown (also in 2013).

Player development[edit]

Tietjens has coached many young players who have gone on to become All Blacks, including[citation needed] Christian Cullen, Jonah Lomu, Joe Rokocoko, Mils Muliaina, Rico Gear, Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane, Israel Dagg, and Liam Messam.[5] Tietjens coached 44 players who went on to become All Blacks in the 15-a-side game and before his retirement, he was the only remaining active international coach from the amateur era.[6]

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.[7] This allows Tietjens to be part of Sevens rugby's first inclusion in the Olympic Games. According to then-World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset, sevens' inclusion in the Olympics was "in no small way down to Gordon Tietjens. Through his knowledge, passion, and expertise, he has driven the standards towards what we now celebrate as a truly global game of sevens."[6]

In the 1999 New Year Honours, Tietjens was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit,[8] in the 2007 New Year Honours, he was elevated to Companion of the same order,[9] and in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was further promoted to a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[10]

After an unsuccessful 2016 Olympics campaign, Tietjens stepped down from the All Blacks coaching position.


In October 2016, Tietjens accepted the role of coach to the Samoa national sevens team.[11]


  • Playing honours: New Zealand Barbarians
  • Member of the first national New Zealand Hong Kong Sevens Team (1983)
  • New Zealand Sevens Head Coach (1994–2016)
  • IRB Sevens World Series Champions (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014)
  • Rugby World Cup Sevens Champions (2001 & 2013)
  • Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens Gold Medalist (1998, 2002, 2006 & 2010)
  • NPC Coach of the Year in (2000 for Bay of Plenty)[7]
  • NZRU Coach of the Year (2010)[12]
  • IRB Hall of Fame Member
  • Knight Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit


  1. ^ New Zealand Olympic Committee. "Gordon Tietjens". Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  2. ^ New Zealand 7s Scrum.com news, 2 February 2010
  3. ^ a b "Gordon Tietjens inducted to IRB Hall of Fame" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 13 May 2012. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  4. ^ Spiro Zavos (30 November 2015). "SPIRO: Where is the ARU plan to win Sevens Olympic gold in Rio?". The Roar. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  5. ^ Lomu and Cullen requested for sevens duty Scrum.com news, 6 December 1999
  6. ^ a b Foster Niumata (25 May 2016). "The ruthless coach who helped sevens into Olympics". AP. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/6693267/Tietjens-to-coach-NZ-sevens-at-Rio-Olympics
  8. ^ "New Year honours list 1999". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 1998. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours List 2007". Honours List. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of New Zealand. 31 December 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  11. ^ http://www.allblacks.com/News/29725/sir-gordon-tietjens-steps-down-as-sevens-coach
  12. ^ [1] Archived 2 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine