Walsh wants another Olympic chance

Womens - Sydney
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Tim Walsh is keen to have another Olympics tilt, as he prepares for life after the Aussie Sevens.

Walsh doesn’t have his next job lined up, after announcing his looming resignation this week, but the Olympic gold medal coach seems almost certain to continue in coaching.

“Right now I'm feeling quite comfortable with it but I'm sure in a couple of months I'll be stressing and pulling my hair out and that kind of thing,” he said.

“I've got some good foundations but I just need to take some time and work out what's the best decision for me.

“I do love coaching, I do want to continue down the coaching avenue.”

Walsh has spent time with the Brumbies and Reds in recent months and said he’d never rule out the possibility of a switch to XVs, but Sevens would be a more likely destinatino.

“Never say never but I'm certainly a Sevens man and I've got aspirations to go to the Olympics again and you can only do that in Sevens and I do believe that's my specialty,” he said.

“For the short term, Sevens is where I'd like to be but later on, never say never and I could always explore to the XVs but for now, I do love what Sevens offers and I love it so that's certainly my career aspiration for the moment.”

The 38-year-old has an intimidating success rate when it comes to handing over the reins, with an 84 per cent win rate in his tenure.

Rugby AU high performance manager Ben Whitaker said Walsh’s success would only make the women’s Sevens job more desirable.

“It's not about comparing or trying to match what Tim's done,” he said.

“I think Tim will no doubt leave an amazing legacy in terms of what he's delivered and what the team's done in that time but also the programs and systems they've set up,” he said.

“Coaches will look at that position really favourably because they're not coming in to start anything from scratch.

Tim Walsh will leave big boots for Rugby AU to fill. Photo: Rugby Australia Media“In fact, they're looking to take something that's really good or outstanding right now to even better.

“The pressure will be more around that.

“I don't think you'd want to compare percentages and stats and that sort of thing. I don't think most coaches do.”

Whitaker said Walsh would hopefully not be lost to Australian rugby, but hinted that he would be in demand offshore.

“We know that coaches will go off and do what they need to do,” he said.

“Most of them - once you're a head coach, you love head coaching programs and teams.

“There's opportunities clearly in Australia but also opportunities overseas.

“The fact they're overseas doesn't mean they're lost to the system but we maintain really strong contact.”

Ellia Green will be sad to see Tim Walsh leave. Photo: Rugby Australia MediaWherever he goes, Walsh's legacy will not be quickly forgotten, says speedster Ellia Green, who was introduced to Sevens by Walsh.

"He's helped me grow as a player back in 2012 when we first met, I joined the Australian Sevens program knowing nothing, just coming in as a track sprinter. Tim was the assistant coach at the time and I do remember always going to him for advice, even as the assistant coach.

"He always provided the best feedback for me and to help me grow.

"He really did turn me from a track athlete into a rugby player, so he's helped me develop throughout my career."