The Australian Rugby Union today announced that Waratahs club captain Pat McCutcheon and pacy outside back Henry Hutchison will join the Qantas Australian Men's Sevens program for the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Twenty-eight-year old McCutcheon - a national Sevens representative from 2007-2010 - already has 10 World Series caps to his name and was part of the squad that won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The loose forward has played 37 times for the Waratahs since making his Super Rugby debut against the Highlanders in 2010.
Despite being just 18-year-old, Hutchison already boasts a wealth of international experience having represented Australian Schoolboys in 2013 and 2014 as well as Randwick in Sydney's Shute Shield club rugby competition. The Sydney-born speedster was also recently selected to represent Australia in Rugby Sevens at the forthcoming Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.
Pat McCutcheon said: "It's exciting to be back part of the Sevens program again - I already know blokes like James Stannard and Ed Jenkins who have been here for a few years now. It's been good to see how far the program has come over the past five or six years - from a semi-professional team to a professional environment. It's exciting, it's new for me.
"What will I bring to the squad? First of all, I need to catch up to the rest of the boys as they're all in pretty good nick. They're fast on their feet and quick with the ball in hand. I've probably got a bit of conditioning to get under my belt but hopefully I can bring an older head, a bit of a leadership and a calming effect."
Henry Hutchison said: "I'm hoping I can bring a bit of speed to the group. As well as training with the national Sevens program, I have an important tournament for both myself and the team in Samoa next month.
"Geraint [John] and the boys have been extremely welcoming to me and it's great to be here."
Geraint John said: "Pat [McCutcheon] brings with him experience of playing in Super Rugby but also previously with the Sevens program a few years back. He brings knowledge and leadership and it’s that leadership that we hope will get us to where we want to be. He's brought that to training already as well as a toughness and hardness.
“Henry [Hutchison] is a player we have had an eye on for a while. He brings electrifying speed but it's also about developing players. It's not just about 2015, 2016 but also 2017 and beyond. Henry has a bright future and we feel the Sevens program will also be good for his development as a player.
The Australian Sevens program also announced that Nick Malouf has agreed a new two-year contract with Con Foley extending his deal for another 12 months until the end of 2016.
Meanwhile, Mahalia Murphy has joined the Qantas Australian Women's Sevens program, effective immediately.
Murphy impressed management with a string of fine performances during last month's Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea where she helped an inexperienced team claim a silver medal.
The 21-year-old rose to fame after scoring a hat-trick for the Jillaroos Rugby League side against New Zealand.
"I am excited to be joining the Australian Women's Sevens team and playing at an elite level. It was a brilliant experience playing at the Pacific Games and good to see another culture too.
"In my opinion, Sevens is a lot quicker than playing League for the Jillaroos and requires a lot more fitness. It's also a lot more unstructured than League so you have some quick decisions to make on the field. Having the opportunity to travel all over the world to represent your country was also a huge drawcard."
McCutcheon and Hutchison will be available for selection for the inaugural Sydney 7s on the weekend of 6-7 February 2016. Tickets for the event are available from Friday 4 September from as little as $30 a day (single-day pass). Fans can sign up for ticket alerts via sydney7s.com.au.
Pat McCutcheon Factfile
Born: 24 June 1987
Place of Birth: Narromine, New South Wales
Province: NSW Waratahs (2010-2015)
Representative Honours: Sydney Stars (National Rugby Championship), Sydney Fleet (Australian Rugby Championship), Australian Sevens, Australia Under 19s, Australian Schoolboys
Henry Hutchison Factfile
Born: 12 February 1997
Place of Birth: Crows Nest, Sydney, New South Wales
Representative Honours: Australian Boys Sevens, Australian Under 20s, Australian Schoolboys
Mahalia Murphy Factfile
Born: 19 January 1994
Place of Birth: Blacktown, NSW
Representative Honours: Pacific Games, Jillaroos (Rugby League)