Manu Sevens and coach face uncertain future
Sir Gordon Tietjens may have led the Manu Samoa 7s to a tournament for the last time due to the postponement of the World Rugby Sevens Series and uncertainty around the Olympics.
World Rugby announced on Saturday morning that the London and Paris Sevens are both provisionally postponed to from May to September due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Tietjens’ contract with the Samoa Rugby Union runs through the Olympics in July, with his team yet to qualify for the tournament there in Tokyo.
The Manu Samoa 7s will theoretically play for a place at the Olympics at a repechage tournament in France in June, however that competition and whether it can take place are under review by World Rugby.
"We are in close dialogue with the International Olympic Committee relating to the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rugby sevens qualification, specifically options to replace the final Repechage tournament, should that be required,” World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said in a press release.
“We have two women’s and one men’s teams left to qualify and are currently considering all options to ensure a fair and credible conclusion to the qualification process.”
Manusina 15s planned 2021 Rugby World Cup qualifier against Tonga next month has also been postponed, along with other regional qualifying events, a women’s World Rugby Sevens Series leg and the World Under-20 Championship.
"Taking the appropriate measures that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus in line with government and public health agency responses and advice is paramount,” Beaumont said.
“This has underpinned our decision, taken in consultation with our unions, to suspend these World Rugby tournament activities with immediate effect.
"At this extraordinary time, we are united in our commitment to finding ways of ensuring that on-field activity can resume as soon as it is safe and possible to do so. To that end, the World Rugby Executive Committee is driving the implementation of a dedicated action plan that will guide us through this challenging period as a sport unified across the international and domestic environments."