Hutchison named World Rugby Sevens Rookie of the Year

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Australian Sevens flyer Henry Hutchison has claimed the HSBC Sevens Rookie of the Year overnight after a stellar season in the gold jersey.

Hutchison has been part of the Aussie Sevens fold for just a year but has already become one of its key finishers- his 27 tries this season tops the team's count. 

The 19-year-old was quick to put praise on those around him on the announcement of the gong. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled to win this award,” he said.

“I must be honest though and admit that I haven’t earned this by myself but with the help of my team-mates and the coaching staff at the Australian Sevens program."

Hutchison first joined the Sevens program in July 2015 after being a standout at the Commonwealth Youth Games, before debuting at a senior level in Australia's Olympic qualifiers. 

“Looking back, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa,” he said.

“To go from there to have the backing of Tim Walsh [then interim Head Coach] to play in a tournament like the Olympic Qualifier in Auckland gave me such confidence.

“I simply couldn’t believe I was in the top 12 for such an intense and crucial tournament for Australian Rugby.”

Hutchison has been a great attacking weapon for Australia, sitting eighth overall in the try scoring standings. 

Hutchison thanked head coach Andy Friend for showing faith in him.

“I consider Andy [Friend] as more than a Head Coach – I see him as a friend and a mentor,” he said.

"He has taught about being part of a family and a healthy culture. Andy has given me more opportunities and I just want to go out on the park and pay him back with results."

There’s no rest for Hutchison and the team, with Rio just around the corner.

“From now, we head back to Sydney early this week and have a few days off before heading straight back into training,” he said.

“It’s a huge couple of months for us, no question about that. There will be 20-plus guys fighting tooth and nail to make the squad for Rio.”

Australia has finished the Sevens World Series in fourth spot, its best finish since 2009-10 but after a 10th spot on London, Hutchison said they would be expecting much more from Rio. 

“Fourth in the World Series is a big effort from the entire program but we can get better,” he said.

“And I firmly believe that whoever the 12 players are selected for the Olympics that we have more than enough talent to get on that podium at Deodoro Stadium.”

Hutchison was up against Bautista Ezcurra (Argentina), Pheonix Hunapo-Nofoa (Samoa) and Regan Ware (New Zealand) who were also nominated for the award.