Gordon Tietjens (Sir)
Legendary NZ Sevens Rugby coach
Sir Gordon Tietjens is a high achiever, perhaps the most successful NZ coach of modern times. He constantly delivered for the NZ All Black Sevens rugby team and they have set the benchmark for Sevens rugby worldwide!
Gordon grew up in Rotorua and he and his brothers played touch and rugby - he also excelled at sprint races at school. He played rugby for Bay of Plenty and Rotorua Boys High School and on leaving school joined up with Marist St Michaels. A move to Auckland found him at Marist Club and he won a trial for the Auckland Under 18’s. He played for the Auckland Colts before returning to Rotorua to take up a sales position and return to club rugby. In 1977 he made the provincial Bay of Plenty team but was injured so he packed his bags and headed to London where he joined London Welsh rugby club and first played Sevens.
On returning to NZ Gordon played club rugby then Sevens for Waikato Rugby and made the NZ Sevens team to Hong Kong. In 1992 he coached the Bay of Plenty rep team and its Sevens side and was appointed coach of the New Zealand Sevens B team. He applied for the position of NZ coach in 1994 and the rest is history.
Gordon is renowned for his emphasis on fitness in brutal training sessions, yet he manages to develop a remarkable team spirit. He really cares about his players, he’s up-front and honest and communicates well with them. He teaches them about eating right, training right and off the field behaviour to give them the best possible chance of performing to their best. It’s a regime that works, as under his guidance the NZ Seven’s team has notched up an incredible 12 World Series wins and four consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medals.
In 1999 Gordon's achievements were recognised with the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM)in the New Years Honours List and again in 2007 he was awarded Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to rugby. In May 2012 he was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame after guiding the incredible NZ Sevens rugby team to their 10th World series win. He joins other NZ rugby legends, Sir Wilson Whinerary, David Kirk, Sir Brian Lochore & Jonah Lomu. In June 2013 Gordon was awarded KNZM to become Sir Gordon Tietjens. He's also published a book “Titch – Sevens is my Game”.
In 2013 Gordon and his players topped off the HSBC Sevens World Series by winning the Sevens World Cup in Russia - a fantastic tournament with the kiwis showing their class in a stunning double win by both the Men's and Women's teams this time!
Gordon has a gift for spotting and honing hidden talent and producing the fittest rugby players in NZ and he pushes himself just as hard. He works out at the gym and his energy and determination have helped produce some of our greatest rugby talents. He was on the road with the team for 24 weeks every year but always returned straight to his role as GM of an engineering company when he arrived back in NZ.
Gordon loves rugby and believes he has a future coaching in the 15-man game. Once his Sevens days are over, there could be an opportunity possibly at age group level, where he could instill a sound work ethic.
More recently Sir Gordon was appointed the Coach of the Samoan Sevens Rugby team and we'll look forward to him further developing the talents of this exciting team!