9 Jun 2018

Sport: Samoa 7s still seeking consistency

7:27 am on 9 June 2018

Samoa sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens says a lack of consistency continues to cost the team going into this weekend's World Series finale in Paris.

The Manu finished a disappointing 13th in London last weekend, despite a stunning upset win against reigning series champions South Africa in pool play.

Samoa coach Gordon Tietjens talks tactics.

Samoa coach Gordon Tietjens talks tactics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Samoa reached the Cup quarter finals in three of nine tournaments this season, up from one in ten last time around.

But Sir Gordon Tietjens said an up and down showing in London was indicative of what's been a challenging campaign.

"Four fairly good games and two bad ones and the two ones that came back to haunt us of course were those first two against Canada and Russia but the guys certainly proved against South Africa that when they're on their game they can play particularly well," Tietjens said.

"There were a lot of learnings from that game as well because it gave the boys a lot of confidence.

"Coming into this tournament it's no easier - we've got the toughest pool out, probably the toughest pool all year, in Fiji, New Zealand and Kenya," he said.

Samoa are 10th in the World Series standings with one round to play, after finishing 13th last season.

Tietjens has not being able to select a full-strength squad during the entire campaign but believed the players would ultimately be better for the experience.

"I think it's the ideal preparation for our Rugby World Cup (Sevens), I honestly do.

"Regardless of the results I think if we can come out of these games and play particularly well and come out with confidence," he said.

"Not necessarily I mean if we don't win them but if we push them and we give it everything and then we can get a lot of learnings from those games and take those forward to the World Cup in San Francisco."

Fiji have a seven point buffer over South Africa in the World Series standings and can assure themselves of the title if they qualify for the semi finals.

Tietjens said Samoa's Pacific rivals had been the most consistent team all season.

"They've got so much depth. I mean they called in a couple of players from the UK for that tournament last weekend and because they can make that transition in such a short space of time - incredible really - and they played very very well but South Africa's in with a chance this weekend," he said.

"Fiji they're in the toughest pool...it's going to be tough because particularly if they drop a game because then it will be on a knife-edge and then South Africa will be sitting back and looking at their progress."

Tietjens, who won 10 series titles as New Zealand coach from 1994-2016, said he remembered what it was like fighting for the title down to the final day and expected Fiji coach Gareth Baber to be a bit nervous over the weekend.

But he expected the pressure and expectation would lead Fiji to lift their performance to the required level.

Sir Gordon Tietjens said the Wellington Sevens was a well run tournament but the city had been like a 'ghost town'.

2018 is Sir Gordon Tietjens second year in charge of the Samoa sevens team Photo: AFP