Maddocks to link up with Aussie Sevens in Munich

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies and Rebels winger Jack Maddocks left Japan on Saturday but the outside back won’t be heading back to Australia.

Instead, he will be flying to Munich to play for the Aussie men's Sevens in the Oktoberfest Sevens, with a view to playing a role in their bid for Olympic qualification.

Maddocks missed the Wallabies' 31-man World Cup squad but is one of a handful of players on standby should someone get injured and was training with the squad in Odawara this week, before the official tournament period began. 

With only a slim chance of being involved in the World Cup, Maddocks is hoping his stint with the Sevens extends to a November Oceania Olympic qualifier.

“If I'm not in the World Cup, I'll go over to Fiji for the Oceania qualifier and hopefully we can get over the line there and cement our spot in the Olympics,” he said.

Maddocks said it was an easy call to take up the offer from the Aussie Sevens and try to help the side in their Olympic bid.

“It's a good opportunity for me, go test out Sevens for a little bit, something pretty exciting for me,” he said.

“Obviously, the ambition is to be playing the World Cup but at the moment that's not the go, so really good opportunity to go have a crack at Sevens and see how we go.”

Maddocks said Aussie men’s coach Tim Walsh approached him in recent weeks about potentially playing with the squad in their Olympic qualification period.

The Aussie men will play that Oceania qualifier in November, hoping to seal their Tokyo 2020 spot in that tournament and it’s something Maddocks is keen to be a part of.

“They just hit me up to see if I was interested in pursuing something like that and obviously I was,” he said.

“It's really exciting Sevens, I haven't played much of it before so the challenge excited me in that regard and also just the opportunity to play.

“My brother's in the system as well, which was a big lure for me. 

“It's a good opportunity with the Olympics around the corner and that's the pinnacle of sport so hopefully we can get there and that'll be an unreal experience as well.”

Maddocks trained with the team in Sydney a fortnight ago but only managed one session before he was called up to feature in the Wallabies’ pre-World Cup camp in Noumea.

“I did one training session a couple of weeks ago, literally walked off the field and got the call to fly to New Caledonia to meet up with the Wallabies boys,” he said.

“It was very brief but from my time there I could tell the boys were really tight, it's a good group and something I look forward to being a part of.”

Maddocks’ experience in Sevens amounts to mainly schoolboy tournaments and he said even his short time in training had highlighted some differences in the two formats.

“I think just the instincts of the game - obviously a lot less players on the field from what I've noticed so far is that the ruck's a lot more important,” he said

“(You’re) not racing through for offloads if you're the next guy there, you've got to prioritise the breakdown and that sort of stuff. 

“Also, the fitness and just other stuff around contact and all that sort of stuff. 

“It'll be a bit different but at the end of the day it's still rugby, still a full field and just get over the other side of the try line.”

Finiding the other side of the try line is something Maddocks has shown he is good at, having led Super Rugby in tries scored early in the 2019 season before a leaner second half of the year.

The Aussie men play in the Oktoberfest 7s on September 21 and 22.