Betham excited to be back in Sevens

By Sina Sevaaetasi ,

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FAMILIAR FACE: Stephen Betham, assistant coach of the Manu Samoa Sevens.

FAMILIAR FACE: Stephen Betham, assistant coach of the Manu Samoa Sevens. (Photo: Sina Sevaaetasi)

The man who coached the Manu Samoa Sevens to the top of the world in 2010 is back doing what he does best.

This time Stephen Betham, who has also coached the Manu Samoa 15s, is joining ranks with Sir Gordon Tietjens to create one of the most powerful coaching duos in recent rugby history.  

With Tietjens not assuming the top role until January next year, Betham took the squad through their paces at the H.P.U Field yesterday. 

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, he said he is neither intimidated by Tietjen's pedigree nor bothered by the fact the two men were once foes during the I.R.B Sevens Series where the teams they coached often clashed.

“He’s one of the most recognised Sevens coaches in the world,” Betham said. 

“If there’s anyone you aspire to be as a coach, look at the records, he’s got the best record in the world. 

“So I take the opportunity to work with him as a learning curve for myself, not just for the players, but for me as a coach. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Betham understands his role is not just as Assistant Coach; he is also to assist with training and bridging cultural gap between the players and Tietjens. 

Asked for his thoughts on fears about the language barrier, Betham said it’s the least of his concerns.

“There will always be that barrier but I don’t think it will be a problem. 

“I think it comes down to rugby language and all players understand what rugby language is.  

“Personally, I think it will be good to see what Gordon brings on board.” 

Betham’s legacy in rugby is not confined to just coaching a champion Sevens team. He is also known for coaching a number of stars who have gone on to bigger and brighter things in rugby outside Samoa.

Asked if he would be looking to bring back some of those players, Betham said at this stage, the team has not been selected and the door is open. 

 “At the moment, the door is still open to anybody.  

“We’ve had a good talk with Gordon, so we’re still opening the doors until we get the Series going. 

“I think during that time, we’ll start selecting a few players we’ll focus on. But at the moment, we’re just trying to get the base level right and we’ll work up from there. 

“What we’re looking for at the moment, as we spoke with Gordon, is consistency.  

We’re trying to work every aspect of the game: training and skill work.  We’re just trying to put together the pieces before we select the team.  The effort has been really good with the boys.”

The team’s first test will be the Oceania Sevens in November, followed by the HSBC World Rugby Series opener, with Betham at the helm.  

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