A tough place to play but best place to learn: Tietjens

Casie Staples of the Australian womens 7s team takies a selfie shjot with the students of Ballantine Memorial School yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

FIJI is the best place to learn 7s, says former New Zealand 7s coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens.

“It is the toughest place to play 7s rugby, but the best place to learn from and also the best preparation venue for any 7s team preparing for any tournament in the world,” Sir Tietjens, the Samoa 7s coach said.

“There’s not one Pacific Island team that doesn’t know how to play the game of sevens. Fiji is the toughest place to play and the toughest place to learn from. It gives teams the experience of playing “That is what I enjoy.”

Sir Tietjens has a new look Samoan side for the 2018 Oceania 7s which starts at 11am today.

He said his side was capable of causing upsets, but unlike Fiji, lacked the depth to pull from.

“I’ve always said Fiji could send four teams to the biggest tournament in the world and they can all make the quarter-finals.”

Sir Tietjens said he would use the tournament to gauge his squad against other nations in the coming HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Samoa will play its first pool game against Tuvalu at 12:45pm today.

Meanwhile, Australia women’s team skipper Page McGregor yesterday encouraged young Fijian women to play rugby.

McGregor and her players were guests at Ballantine Memorial School in Suva yesterday as part of the Oceania Rugby Impact Beyond Rugby program.

“It’s such a good experience coming here,” McGregor said.

“I loved it last year when we first came, and I love it even more this time around.

“It is really important to show young girls in Fiji that they know that they can play rugby. It is also a woman’s sport and for them or anyone to just get out of their comfort zone and give it ago.”

Students of BMS sang songs as well as performed items for their guests.

McGregor presented an autographed jersey by the team to BMS rugby coach Toloi Kolinisau.

The Australia women’s team plays its first pool game against Nauru at 12.03pm today.

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