Jenkins leaves "major" hole for Aussies: Friend

by Sam Phillips

Australian Men's Sevens coach Andy Friend has called on his young guns to fill the void left by newly retired veteran Ed Jenkins.

Friend expressed his disappointment for the most capped player in Australian Sevens history but called upon the next generation of stars to follow in his footsteps.

"He has been one of the mainstays of the program for the last 10 years and he is probably the face of Sevens," Friend said.

"So for him to finish up that way, it's disappointing.

"It definitely leaves a hole for us but as we keep saying we have other players in this program that now need to step up and fill that void.Jenkins has been the face of the Sevens program. Photo: Getty Images"Boyd Killingworth has been wanting to wear that number nine jersey and he will grow in stature if he gets to wear that jersey.

"We have some young guys coming through - Lachie Anderson, Timmy Anstee, Sammy Myers is uninjured at the moment so it will be good to see him step up.

"We pretty much just have to see them step up and fill the void that he's left."

Friend also shared some of the words Jenkins left his teammates with when he told them it was time to hang up the boots.

"He made a comment to the group which I thought was really telling," Friend said.

"He said he wasn't the most gifted player but what he didn't have in gifts he made up for in hard work.Jenkins put in big hours behind the scenes. Photo: Getty Images"His view was that hard work will always beat talent - talent doesn't work hard.

"I thought that was pretty spot on."

While Jenkins' departure is, as Friend put it, a "major" blow to the squad's development, the show must go on.

The Hottest Sevens will give the fringe players a chance to star in Darwin this weekend, with the Sydney Sevens next weekend one of three key tournaments the squad has targeted all preseason.

"We set our sights on three big titles this year," Friend said.

"The first one is Sydney which is just a couple weekends time, Comm Games was the next one and then the World Cup.

"We've been building towards getting wins and we are in a profession that demands wins - we are very aware of that.

"As a program we haven't had those wins since 2012 but we have been working hard and I believe we have a very healthy squad, a very good squad."

The Aussie Sevens will next run out at the Sydney 7s on January 26, running until Sunday January 28. Buy tickets here.