The only coach to lead Samoa to a World Sevens Series title believes it’s time another local is given the job.
Sir Gordon Tietjens resigned last month after three and a half years in charge. The Manu Sevens finished 13th, 10th and 6th in his three full seasons at the helm, and were languishing at 13th in the overall standings when the current campaign was suspended in March.
Stephen Betham led Samoa to the 2010 World Series title and believes
it’s time for a local coach to be given another crack at the top job.
“I think going local long-term is the right way. It’s not
disrespecting the off-shore coaches – [Damian] McGrath and Gordon
Tietjens brought a lot to the table, something different – and I think
it’s good for the [Samoa Rugby] Union to see that they’ve seen that,” he
“And even myself working with Sir Gordon it was an eye-opener for me
to see the way he saw things…There’s always pros and cons but I think
we’ve got to take the good things some of these off-shore coaches have
brought and how to marry it with what we do on this side of the world
with our culture.”
Betham spent three years as an assistant coach to Sir Gordon Tietjens
and said whoever succeeded the former New Zealand mentor must be given
the opportunity to rebuild the team over an extended period.
“Every time we change a coach he changes a whole group of players and every time you change a whole group of players – because we’ve got a small pool of players to pick from – you’ve got to bring in a whole bunch of new players and they have to start learning and you can’t expect to get it right within two or three years – it takes a bit longer than that.”
While Betham would like to see the new coach afforded time to grow
into the role, he admitted expectations in Samoa were always high.
“The public here and the Prime Minister or the Chairman – everything
hinges on results and that’s the nature of the beast, that’s the nature
of rugby,” he said.
“You don’t have the results in two years time you could be out of there so in building a team you’ve got to be very mindful of your results so you’ve got to have the right players and the right coaching staff.”