New Men's Sevens Head Coach takes first session in Sydney

by staff

New Qantas Australian Men's Sevens Head Coach Geraint John today took his first training session with his new charges this morning in Sydney.

Fresh from arriving in the country from Vancouver yesterday morning, the 51-year-old held a 90-minute session at Sevens HQ on a breezy day in Narrabeen under the gaze of the watching media.

John, who will announce the Australian squad that he will be taking to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Monday, 7 July, said: "Obviously I was pleased to be given the role and pleased to finally arrive here. Now that I'm here, I'm excited to be here. The sun is out, the players were out on the field this morning and we're looking forward to the challenges ahead. We've a big year ahead with the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic qualification period which begins on the Gold Coast in October.

"It's not only a big year ahead for us, but an exciting year ahead for not only the players but everyone involved in the Sevens program - men and women."

John joined Australian Rugby from Rugby Canada, where he most recently led the country's Sevens program. In his penultimate tournament with the Canadians, he guided them to their first ever IRB World Series Cup Final in Glasgow.

"The Canadian program has been centralised for three years now so hopefully my experience and knowledge will help here too with the Australian centralised program which started earlier this year. I've also obviously coached back in the UK so I hope this will help in Australia too.

"I'm not going to be making major, major changes. The team has been successful and have done well and the players have certain systems and that should be maintained.

We'll keep working on those. Throughout the year we'll see how we go - whether new things are brought in - that will be discussions between myself and the players. We'll talk about what things we need to look at. The players are young. That's a bonus and they are keen to learn.

"We want to find out what we need to do in order to take us to that next level."

One of John's biggest influences was legendary All Blacks coach Graham Henry, having working under him with Wales in the late 90s.

"The biggest thing I took out of working with Graham Henry was his amazing knowledge of the game. Analysing the game was important for him and he never left any stone unturned. He had an ability to communicate with individual players and that's something I'll hopefully be taking on board too.

"I want to get to know each individual player, get them to know each and every player. Pass on my thoughts, hear their thoughts with the aim of making them a better player on the field. I like to have that kind of relationship with every single player on the field. If we have those discussions together then we'll work to become better."