ACADEMY Sir Gordon Tietjens Eagles Rugby Academy


Officially launched on 15th March 2018, the Sir Gordon Tietjens Eagles Rugby Academy remains one of the major milestones in rugby development for Eagles Rugby Club (ERC).

It was and still is a distinct achievement for ERC to win the confidence of one of the greatest Rugby Sevens legends of all time - Sir Gordon Tietjens. This living legend of 7s rugby gave ERC an unmatched boost when he agreed to lend his gilded name to jointly with ERC establish an advanced rugby Academy that is based at ERC, Sandakan – The Sir Gordon Tietjens Eagles Rugby Academy.

Sir Gordon is a living rugby legend and considered to be one of the finest coaches of any sport in the world. It is a great honour that our Academy has him as the Chairman of the Academy which is based at ERC in Sandakan.

In our relentless drive to promote and develop the game here in Sabah and around the region, ERC has certainly broken new frontiers by convincing Sir Gordon to come on board to help establish a full-fledged advanced Rugby Academy here.

Among those present at the launching were some of the biggest names in the game of rugby in Malaysia as well as Asia including the then Asia Rugby President Aga Hussain.

Our ERC President Vela Tan had then described the pact with Sir Gordon Tietjens as a move to further advance the standard and popularity of the game of rugby throughout this region. The objective of the Academy was to address the need to develop and improve the knowledge of the game among coaches, officials and others involved in the game of rugby.

“We are making first class coaching affordable,” Vela was quoted as saying.

Vela is now a Vice-President of Asia Rugby and Head of Rugby Development in Asia.

From a regional centre the Sir Gordon Tietjens Eagles Rugby aims to gradually spread its wings to other regions of the world.

Heading the panel of distinguished rugby personalities in the Academy is of course Sir Gordon Tietjens himself. The Academy has already conducted quite a number of advanced courses personally facilitated by Sir Gordon himself.

Well known rugby coaches, players, influencers, referees, sports medicine specialists and others involved in the more advanced aspects of the game have come to our club to conduct courses in their respective fields of expertise.

Among them were rugby star personalities including former All-Blacks captain Tana Umaga, Strength & Conditioning specialist John Cronin, former All-Blacks captain Edwin Cocker and All-Blacks player Rocky Khan.

Since then, quite a large number of individuals, clubs and even national teams, both local and foreign, have camped at ERC for centralised training, workshops and seminars.

In addition, we also provide Training and Educational courses under the World Rugby program, such as the Level 1 & 2 Coaching course, Level 1 & 2 Match Official course, Level 1 Strength & Conditioning and Medical courses.

The Academy continues to seize every opportunity to invite distinguished personalities to share their insight and knowledge of the game whenever they are available.

The SGT Eagles Academy aims to reach out to all who aspire to keep abreast with the latest techniques, theories and training methods covering all spheres of rugby development - be they in the boardroom or on the rugby pitch. Seminars, workshops, coaching & training courses will continue be organized in Sandakan and at a later stage at other locations throughout this region.

ERC believe that it is a golden opportunity to harness the in-depth knowledge and expertise of Sir Gordon Tietjens and maximize use of such knowledge for the good of the game here and elsewhere.

Sir Gordon has few, if any, equal in his field and ERC is incredibly fortunate that he has extended his full assistance to plan, set up and head our rugby advancement programmes.

With the tie-up ERC is absolutely confident that excellent results will be forthcoming sooner rather than later. In fact the many individuals, clubs and teams that have undergone courses here have given us very encouraging feedback.

Meanwhile, ERC is deeply honoured that Asia Rugby has since 2021 recognised ERC as one of the High Performance Technical hubs in Asia.


Chairman of Eagles Rugby Academy
Former Coach of the NZ Men’s National Team, the All Blacks Sevens

Motivational speaker Gordon Tietjens is considered to be one of the finest coaches of any sport in the world. He has led New Zealand’s dominating run in the world of rugby sevens throughout the 1990s and 2000’s.

In the 16 years since the IRB Rugby World Series has been run, he has won 12 World Titles and 4 Commonwealth Games Gold Medals; 1998 Kuala Lumpur, 2002 Manchester, 2006 Melbourne and 2010 Delhi. He was named the New Zealand Rugby Union Coach of the year in 2010 recognised for guiding his team to a fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal.

In 1999 his efforts were recognised by being awarded the NZ Order of Merit in the New Zealand’s Honours List and again in 2007 he was awarded the Insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In 2012 Gordon became the 49th inductee into the International Rugby Board’s Hall of Fame. The commemorative cap and gold pin were presented at an awards ceremony at Twickenham, shortly after New Zealand clinched their 11th World Series title from 14 attempts. Gordon was further promoted in 2013 to a Knight Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rugby after 19 years of coaching the All Black Sevens.

Gordon is known for his no nonsense leadership style and uncanny ability to spot raw new talent. Whether its’ the motivation he injects into his teams, his refusal to accept anything but the best from his players, or his absolute belief in his ability to pick and coach people to be the best they can be. Gordon is a remarkable man with a remarkable track record in sport and working with winning teams.

Many of these principles have been mirrored throughout his 30 year career with Bay Engineers Supplies where he has just made the transition from General Manager to the Strategic Sales Director.

Gordon represented New Zealand in rugby sevens in 1983 and played 86 games for Bay of Plenty between 1981 and 1989.

Gordon released his book “Titch Sevens is My Game” in May of 2006 and has now released his new book just this month “Legacy: Gordon Tietjens”

Gordon is a compelling and fascinating conference speaker and will motivate and inspire you and your team to achieve the most that they can.


"We inspire people and change their lives through rugby education and training. Our holistic approach focuses on developing well rounded individuals to reach full potentials in life."