Stannard takes on Aussie Sevens coaching role

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

James Stannard is jumping straight into the coaching realm after his recent retirement, given a new role with the Sevens program.

Stannard was forced into retirement earlier this month, still suffering the after-effects of a March attack that left him with a fractured skull.

He will join the Aussie women's program as an assistant until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, work with the men ahead of next month's Sevens World Cup and also help out with development players coming through the pathway.

The 34-year-old - Australia's men's highest all-time points scorer - had hinted at a shift into coaching when he announced his retirement, and has dabbled in the area in the past.

Stannard helped coach the Macquarie Rays in last year's Aon Uni 7s competition and has been lauded as a great rugby mind.

Aussie women's coach John Manenti, who coached Stannard at Eastwood in his early rugby days, said he would be a valuable addition to the staff.“James and I have been in discussions about supporting the Women’s program as a coach and I know he has a lot to offer our program," he said.

"The team have a lot of respect for him and what he has achieved on the field and will bring new thinking to our attack.

“James and I go back a long way, I brought him to Eastwood during my first coaching stint there and he is a man of impeccable character.”

Stannard said he would relish the chance to be involved.

“I’ve been looking to get into coaching for a while now but they kept giving me playing contracts, so it’s exciting to be able to start my next rugby chapter as a coach," he said.

“To enter coaching across various national Sevens programs including youth, will enable me to progress my coaching experiences quickly.

"I feel very fortunate for the opportunity provided by Rugby AU to transition into this role immediately after concluding my playing career.

“John and Tim Walsh are world class coaches and I know I will learn a lot from them. Having seen what John has done at Eastwood and as an Australian Sevens coach, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and working with him again.

“The Aussie Women’s Sevens is one of the most exciting prospects in Australian sport and I’m really looking forward to working with the team.” 

The Sevens World Cup kicks off in San Francisco, running from July 20-22.