It might be the worst kept secret in town but the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) insists the appointment of Sir Gordon Tietjens as the new Manu Samoa Sevens coach is only final when the official announcement is made.
That could be as early as today, if all goes according to plan.
Speculations heightened when the former New Zealand coach touched down at Faleolo International Airport on Wednesday night. The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, was present to greet him and pick him up.
Spotted at the S.R.U headquarters at Tuana’imato yesterday, Tietjens was not willing to be interviewed.
“I am just here to see Samoa,” he said, before rushing off.
Asked for a comment, Faleomavaega maintained that nothing was final.
“Right now the Union is going through a process,” he said.
“Gordon Tietjens is here to negotiate with the Union on whether he will take the job or not. That’s why we haven’t made an announcement yet.
“If everything goes well today (yesterday), then we might announce it officially tomorrow (today).”
Faleomavaega finally then confirmed that Tietjens has always been a candidate.
“At this point in time, we haven’t appointed a coach yet,” he said.
“We are going through a process and Gordon Tietjens is one of the candidates who applied for the position.
“Unfortunately, that’s the way it is because the candidates who applied for the position, like I told you before, do not want their names publicised because they have other commitments and obligations as well.
“I am sure you understand where I am coming from.”
Faleomavaega added that the negotiations process is often a sensitive area.
“For us to announce anything prematurely and then tomorrow he doesn’t accept it and turns us down then where does that leave us?” he said.
“It doesn’t reflect well on us or other candidates who have applied.”
Faleomavaega also rejected another report, which says that former Manu Samoa and Sevens coach, Stephen Betham, will be the next best choice if negotiations goes south with Tietjens.
“That’s not correct,” he said.
“The Board will make that decision when it comes. That’s basically how we look at it. The decision will be made by the Board.
“I know Samoa is a small place and when you see something people make up their minds and that’s just the nature and the way it is.
“I have to try and honour my obligations though to the applicants who have applied for the position.”
Confusion reigned yesterday with Tietjen’s arrival after media reports in Kenya indicated that the Kenya Rugby Union (K.R.U) had already secured his services for their Sevens team.
The Daily Nation in Kenya reported that “sources within the union disclosed that the move to engage the 60-year-old veteran tactician was sealed on Tuesday evening by the K.R.U board. The board also settled on former Kenya 15s and Kenya Sevens skipper Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu as Tietjens’s deputy.
“K.R.U have held talks with Tietjens for the last one week with the coach revealing he was ready for a new venture.
“They had a few issues to sort out with Tietjens and I guess everybody wanted to be happy since he comes from far,” the source told Daily Nation Sport.
Tietjens stepped down as All Blacks coach after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, having won the World Rugby Sevens Series 12 times and the World Cup twice with the side.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi met with Tietjens yesterday.
He also declined to confirm or deny the appointment saying they will make the announcement soon.