The Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens program today announced Frank Winterstein has joined the squad from Japanese rugby with immediate effect.
The 29-year-old from Canterbury in western Sydney began his professional career with a handful of appearances in the National Rugby League with the Canterbury Bulldogs, making the move to the English Super League in 2009 with stints at Wakefield Trinity and Widnes.
Winterstein also represented the Samoan Rugby League national side before crossing codes to play Rugby Union for Kintetsu Liners in Japan as a hulking, 194cm outside centre.
It was in Japan that Winterstein caught the eye of former Canon Eagles, Suntory Sungoliath and current Australian Sevens Head Coach Andy Friend.
New Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens signing Frank Winterstein said: “Andy [Friend] and I caught up for an hour or so in Tokyo a few months ago and talked through the opportunities that could be there in Sevens.
“Everyone in the Australia Sevens family has been extremely welcoming to my wife, child and myself. We’ve settled in Dee Why on the Northern Beaches and enjoying life.
“Coming from a Samoan heritage, I’ve always loved Sevens – watching legends of the game such as Waisale Serevi running around the park at the Hong Kong and Dubai Sevens."
Winterstein added: “Every day is a challenge and I’m working hard at both the defensive and attacking areas of my game. The fitness aspect has been a big shock and something I’m working on with Nick Poulos [Strength and Conditioning Coach] each day.”
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We’re all delighted to welcome Frank into the program. He brings with him an experienced head having played professional rugby in different corners of the world.
“Not only will Frank’s arrival add greater competition with the playing group, but I also feel he’ll offer something within the squad that I don’t believe we have at the moment which is particularly exciting. The coming weeks and months will be a steep learning curve for Frank but I have complete faith in his abilities to adapt to Sevens.”
Winterstein will be available for selection for the remaining four rounds of the 2015-16 HSBC Sevens World Series.
The news of Winterstein’s signing follows the recent squad additions of John Porch to a full-time Australian Sevens contract and 21-year-old forward Conor Mitchell to a development contract.
FRANK WINTERSTEIN FACTFILE:
Born: 17 December 1986
Place of Birth: Canterbury, New South Wales
Previous Clubs: Canterbury Bulldogs – Rugby League (2008), Wakefield Trinity – Rugby League (2009), Crusaders – Rugby League (2010-11), Widnes – Rugby League (2012-13), Kintetsu Liners (2014-15)
Representative Honours: Samoa – Rugby League (2006-13)