4 Feb 2017

Sport: Big 7s weekend for Samoa, Fiji and PNG

1:04 pm on 4 February 2017

Sir Gordon Tietjens is demanding consistency from Samoa at this weekend's Sydney Sevens.

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

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

The Manu finished a disappointing 13th in Wellington last weekend, in his first tournament in charge.

The former All Blacks Sevens coach said the players "let themselves down" during the pool stages and were made to pay for ill discipline and "woeful" defence.

Tietjens said wins against Papua New Guinea and Russia gave them some much needed confidence he hopes would carry through into this weekend.

"With these guys you just don't want to get up for the bigger teams. It's about also producing good performances with the lesser teams that you should beat - the ones that are under you on the ladder," he said.

"They're the ones that you should beat - not just Fiji and the New Zealand - it's about getting up for every game you play. I've always said as a coach that every game in whatever tournament you play you play as a final and to win a tournament you've got to win six finals."

Samoa face Olympic and World Series champions Fiji in a Pacific derby first up before a couple of tricky encounters against France and Wales.

"There's always going to be a lot of bumps in the road and I've got to get used to those. I'm dealing with a totally different team [from] New Zealand to Samoa and that's the challenge," he said.

"I've had a pretty successful time as a coach...I don't mind ever losing as long as the players that you're coaching go out and give it their all. Failure - yeah it hurts but not if you've given everything you've got, and that to me is everything."

"To me, if the players come off, win or lose, if they've lost but they've put their bodies on the line, they've emptied the tank, then to me that's all I care about."

Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber will experience some more firsts during this weekend's World Series tournament in Sydney.

Hong Kong sevens coach Gareth Baber will take charge of Olympic champions Fiji in January.

Hong Kong sevens coach Gareth Baber will take charge of Olympic champions Fiji in January. Photo: Andy Jones / Hong Kong Rugby Union / AFP

The 44 year-old is a former Wales sevens representative and spent three years on the team's coaching staff, the last two as head coach.

But he's never coached against his countrymen - that is until this weekend.

He'll also experience his first Pacific derby against Samoa at Allianz Stadium before meeting France in their final Pool B encounter.

"Yeah, strange - the first time I will ever coach against Wales. I don't know how I feel about that, I must admit. But the Samoan one is good but, again, those are the things that are looked upon externally," he said.

"Our job is to get the focus to the players and the direction they need to make sure they deliver on the weekend."

"They will do it themselves - I don't need to really do that for them so certainly myself and Naca [Cawanibuka] and the staff, who have been excellent all weekend [in Wellington] will look at doing that again for the final weekend," Baber said.

Fiji are second in the World Series standings after three rounds.

Gareth Baber said most teams, including Fiji, are still in a transition phase post Olympics but South Africa definitely have a jump on the rest of the competition.

Papua New Guinea are embracing a rare second chance on the men's World Sevens Series.

Papua New Guinea sevens coach Dougie Guise.

Papua New Guinea sevens coach Dougie Guise. Photo: RNZI

The Pukpuks lost all five games at the Wellington Sevens, in what was their first World Series appearance in two years.

Coach Dougie Guise said their systems and structures were effective but they were unable to sustain their performances for a full 14 minutes.

It gets even harder this weekend, with New Zealand, Australia and Wellington third place getters Scotland in their pool in Sydney.

With a tournament under their belts, Guise expects big improvements from his players.

"Like I keep telling the boys these are the teams that we want to come and play against and challenge ourselves with, so we can gauge where we are at and what we really need to do to be better rugby players. I'm excited to be having a go at these big teams."

Dougie Guise said the Wellington and Sydney tournaments are all part of their wider preparation for April's World Series Qualifier in Hong Kong.