Jenkins to play out career in Sevens

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australian Men’s Sevens captain Ed Jenkins wants to ensure he leaves a mark on the team, after re-signing for two more years.

Jenkins had toyed with the idea of moving overseas to play 15s rugby but the new father ultimately decided the best place for him was to stay in the truncated form of the game.

“My wife was very supportive whichever way I was going to go," he said.

"Having her family here, it plays a big part (in my decision) and there were other reasons as well.”

Jenkins hasn't ruled out playing beyond this new contract. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile the Olympics has been a goal for Jenkins, going to Rio certainly won’t feel like job done, with relatively new coach Andy Friend still in his first season with the team.

“With Andy Friend how he’s come on on board, I didn’t really want to jump ship after the Olympics,” he said.

"The team’s building really nicely and I think there’s a lot more success to come.”

The long-serving captain, at 30, thinks this one will probably be his last professional contract but didn’t rule out kicking on beyond 2018.

“I never thought I’d get to Rio, so you never know what’s around the corner and definitely getting older this is potentially my last 7s contract, so I want to give it everything to put the team in good stead,” he said.

“Over the next few years, I want to help some younger guys help with their leadership and pass on any knowledge I’ve gained over the past 8 years.”

Jenkins hopes the core group of Sevens players will stick around after Rio. Photo: Getty ImagesThe side was rotated throughout the World Series, with Jenkins rested for some tournaments, giving Lewis Holland and James Stannard the chance to step into the captaincy, though the incumbent won’t be relinquishing that honour full-time anytime soon.

While speculation swirls about the future of a number of Sevens players post-Rio, Jenkins hopes many of his teammates will follow his lead and stick with the program.

“We’ve obviously been playing together for most of the last five seasons but sevens not for everyone, some people long-term ambitions to play some 15s and chase other dreams but that’s up to the individual,” he said.

“It’d  great if a few of those guys would hang around, that core group of guys and we can build towards something.”

The Sevens setup has been adamant 15s players won’t be able to parachute in for major tournaments as they have in the past and Jenkins said the Rio selection would reflect that.

“I think we’ve seen with the 15s it’s not easy just to jump in back and forth between the two and you really need to make Sevens your priority,” he said.

“We’ve got the Commonwealth Games in 2018 so I think if you want to be representing the country, you need to be staying with Sevens because players have seen it’s hard to jerk in and out.

“The sports are completely different these days.”

The Aussie Men’s Sevens recently travelled to Darwin for a heat camp ahead of the Olympics, with all 16 players who went making it through unscathed, including star playmaker Holland.

Rookie John Porch was one of those at the camp and the speedster will be in the Sevens fold for a bit longer, after his re-signing was announced on Friday, along with development player Josh Coward.

Coward was a star in the recent development games and caught the eye of Friend and the current Sevens squad.

The Rio Olympic team will be named on Thursday July 14.