Manenti named Aussie Women's Sevens coach

Womens - Paris
by Sam Phillips

John Manenti has officially been handed the reins as Australian Women's Sevens coach, having led the side on an interim basis since Tim Walsh's departure.

Manenti has enjoyed successful stints with the Australian U20s, Wallaroos, Greater Sydney Rams and Eastwood and has also spent the past three years working as Walsh's right hand man.

He was the clear choice to take the top job and has since steered the side to bronze and silver medal finishes at Kitakyushu and Langford, respectively, retaining a four point lead atop the World Series standings ahead of the final leg in Paris, next weekend.

"It's very exciting and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in," Manenti said after signing until the end of 2021.

"It's been a reasonably long process but I've had my hands on the wheel for a while now so at least I can start planning beyond the World Cup, now.Manenti has signed on until the end of 2021. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"I love working here, I love the job and I love being excited when I wake up and come to work."

Star Australian trio Ellia Green, Sharni Williams and Alicia Quirk will still be absent in Paris but Manenti said the squad was otherwise taking good shape.

"I've been really happy with how we've trained, prepared and we have achieved what we wanted to achieve over the last 10 days," Manenti said.

"We know the challenge and we know the opposition.

"Our pool is Fiji, Russia and Canada - which is a really tough pool - all three of those teams throughout the season have had finishes on the podium so we know we have to win that pool.

"What comes after that, comes after that.

"It's fair to assume on form New Zealand are going to be there at the end of the tournament, we just want to make sure we work hard and get a crack at it."

New Zealand hammered Australia in the Langford 7s final, largely outmuscling the Australians at the breakdown.Manenti and the Australian Women are hard at work. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyManenti pointed to his side's physicality around the park as an area which must improve if they are to claim the World Series crown.

"At the moment we're a lot more physical than we have been in the past at training," he said.

"We were certainly disappointed with that part of our game coming out of Langford so we've worked really hard over the last 10 days and they certainly appreciate contact a little bit more than they did in the past."

While Manenti didn't want to label the Australians as a physical outfit, he did emphasise the importance of combatting nations fielding bigger teams than the skilful, speed driven Australians.

"At the end of the day our skill set is to be avoiding contact, play into space and use our catch-pass to take the game away from there.

"Where teams are targeting us, though, is in that area.

"We need to be better in that area otherwise we are going to find ourselves on the wrong end of the stick too many times.

"It's not really how we want to play the game but we need to be able to counter that before we can inflict on them what we want to do with the ball."