13 Nov 2017

Tietjens hits back at Hansen over failed Rio Games campaign

5:56 pm on 13 November 2017

Former New Zealand sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has hit back at All Blacks coach Steve Hansen over the build up to last year's failed Rio Olympics campaign.

Sir Gordon Tietjens at the Rio Olympics.

Sir Gordon Tietjens at the Rio Olympics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The two coaches have criticized each other over the handling of All Black fullback Ben Smith, Tietjens wanted him to play at least two tournaments before the Olympics while Hansen didn't think that wasn't necessary because of his Smith's calibre.

Smith last played sevens when he won gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and Tietjens says the game has changed a lot since then.

"He (Smith) wouldn't want to come into that program amongst all the other players, that were doing everything to be involved in that team, just to come in on the back of no sevens rugby whatsoever.

"My question to Steve Hansen also would be - would you take a player to the Rugby World Cup that hasn't played rugby for six years? He certainly wouldn't," Tietjens said.

Tietjens said he even tried to compromise with the All Blacks coaching staff by suggesting Smith would only need to play two World Series tournaments instead of the initial four but his idea was rejected.