Sir Gordon Tietjens tasted a couple of firsts in his long illustrious career yesterday.
It was the first time he’s coached a team opposing his beloved All Blacks Sevens. Second it was the first time he’s coached an international team winless in pool play of a Sevens tournament.
The latter would have hurt the most, especially after the men in blue capitulated against France in their final game last night.
All this unfolded at Westpac Stadium in Wellington where the Manu Samoa Sevens kicked off Sir Tietjen’s era in disastrous fashion.
To say that Tietjens has a lot of work to do is an understatement.
He has got a mountain of work to get through. And he might like to start with simple skills like tackling, accuracy, retaining the ball and learning that to play rugby, you actually need the oval ball.
For three games, Samoa spent the majority of the time chasing and defending.
Against France it was no exception. Apart from an Alamanda Motuga try from the kick off giving his team 5-0 lead that was all Samoa had to show.
France bounced back with two tries to Barraque and Candelon to steal the lead, 5-14 at the half.
During the break a positive Tietjens encouraged his boys that they were still in with a chance. He told them first they had to receive and keep their ball from the kick off and score first. Well they didn’t.
A knock on from the kick off all but ended what many fans hoped would be a great come back. France enjoyed all the possession and territory, forcing Samoa to attack from their try line and making mistakes in the process.
In the end, they ran out of gas. A man in a sin bin didn’t help either. France scored two more tries through Barraque and Candelon to seal the victory, 5-28.
After being thrashed by New Zealand in their first game, Manu Samoa Sevens lost to the United States, 24-12.
The United States led from start to finish, taking a 19-7 lead to halftime and never giving the Samoans a sniff in the second spell.
The much-anticipated first game against New Zealand immediately turned into disappointment when the men in All Black schooled Samoa about keeping possession and playing clinical rugby.
After playing a near faultless first half, where Samoa barely touched the ball, the All Blacks Sevens led 21-0 and put on another try before their opponents could respond.
The player of the day for Samoa, Motuga, crossed for Samoa's only try, but their hopes were dashed at the kick-off, when Lafaele Vaa was yellow-carded for tackling NZ captain Scott Curry in mid-air.
Samoa was convincingly beaten, 33-7, in the end.
"I was [disappointed]," said Sir Gordon told The NZ Herald. "I suppose when you can't see any ball, you're going to be chasing the game. They [New Zealand] played well. We knew they would lift themselves for Wellington."
Samoa will be contesting the Challenge Cup when the tournament continues today.