From 'skinny, country kid' to Sevens star for Porch

Rugby World Cup 7s - Mens
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

When John Porch first came into the Sevens fold, he admits he was a ‘skinny, country kid’ with some raw talents but a lot of work to do.

Fast forward three years and the 24-year-old has become a genuine star of the men’s Sevens side, and one of its leaders.

He has beefed up since his early days at the program, with a commitment to the gym adding to his weapons on the field.

“Coming into the program in 2016, I think I was a little skinny country kid but now I love getting into the gym and I've just built myself off the field a lot better than I would've back before I started in the program,” he said.

“I wasn't much for gym work and that but now I love getting in there and doing that sort of stuff.

“That off-field stuff's definitely helped me on the field.”

John Porch in his debut Sevens season. Photo: Getty ImagesPorch’s value to the side was underlined earlier this year when he captained the team to a Cup final in the Singapore Sevens and he said the confidence he’s gained from some newfound strength made the jump easier.

“(Being) in the gym every day so that's helped me build my confidence on the field and I'm a lot stronger on the field which makes me a lot more confident,” he said.

“I’ve loved the opportunity, (having) extra minutes on the field and if I get the chance to lead the team like I did in Singapore it's always an honour and I never take it for granted.”

The Aussie men are looking for redemption in next week’s World Cup after a disappointing finish to the Sevens World Series and Porch was confident they could find it.

“We just learned where we went wrong and as a team we've really improved on those inconsistencies and hopefully in the World Cup we can show that those little errors we made in those tournaments in France and in London that we've fixed those and we're ready to go now.”

There’s an added element of intrigue for the side ahead of their first match against the winner of a preliminary clash between France and Jamaica in the knock-out tournament.

John Porch has beefed up since hitting the Sevens circuit. Photo: Getty ImagesAustralia won't know who their first opponent will be until the tournament is underway - a far cry from the structure of World Series tournaments with pool match schedules known well in advance.

“We’re guessing (France will) knock off the (Jamicans), so we've been prepping for them, looking at them and it's a one at a time thing, so we can't look any further ahead," Porch said.

“Anything's an option, so we've got to look at both teams and look at what they do and we'll find out after their first game who we've got over there, until then we won't know.”

The Aussie men leave for San Francisco on Saturday morning, with the Rugby World Cup Sevens kicking off on Friday July 20.