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New Zealand legend set to be unveiled as new Sevens rugby coach

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) will Thursday morning unveil former New Zealand tactician Gordon Tietjens as the new Kenya Sevens head coach.

Sources within the union disclosed that the move to engage the 60-year-old veteran tactician was sealed on Tuesday evening by the KRU board.

The board also settled on former Kenya 15s and Kenya Sevens skipper Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu as Tietjens’s deputy.

KRU have held talks with Tietjens for the last one week with the coach revealing he was ready for a new venture.

STANDBY

The source said that the board had put Samurai International coach Fijian Sailosi Naiteqe, a Level II coach, on standby.

“They had a few issues to sort out with Tietjens and I guess everybody wanted to be happy since he comes from far,” the source told Daily Nation Sport.

“He is the best coach in the world and SportPesa, one of KRU’s sponsors, have indicated that they will be ready to pay for any coach.”

Tietjens stepped down as All Blacks coach after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, having won the World Rugby Sevens Series 12 times and the World Cup twice with the side.

Although KRU chairman Richard Omwela could neither confirm nor deny this, he had earlier indicated that they would have loved to have the legendary coach as a consultant.

THIRD FOREIGN COACH

Tietjens will be Kenya’s third foreign coach in the last four years after Briton Mike Friday, who handled the team for the 2012 and 2013 season and South African Paul Treu, who was in charge in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Tietjens was inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame in May 2012, and is revered as “The Greatest Sevens Coach” owing to his achievements in Sevens rugby where he handled All Blacks from 1994 to his retirement after the unsuccessful 2016 Olympics campaign.

Simiyu, a Level II coach, edged out former Kenya Sevens deputy coaches Paul Murunga and Charles Cardovillis to the position.

The 33-year-old Impala utility back captained Kenya Sevens between 2006 and 2008 and the 15s side in 2008 to 2011.

However, Simiyu returned to the pitch in 2014 to coach and play for Impala. The same year, he won the Comeback Award during the Sports Personality of the Year (Soya) Gala.

He made his return for Kenya 15s at the Africa Cup Division 1A this year before captaining Kenya “A” against Hong Kong in August this year.