Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos is confident the changes to the Sevens coaching set-up puts them in the best position possible to maximise the benefits out of the program.
It was confirmed on Friday that Tim Walsh would return to the women’s program he guided to Olympic gold in 2016, with John Manenti moving to the men’s side.
With a greater opportunity for integration between the Super Rugby, Super W and the Sevens programs now available, Marinos believes this is the ideal situation for the future.
“We just looked at the individual’s coaches skill and attributes and they both have good runs on the board and experience in the Sevens program, understand the system, structures and demands,” Marinos told reporters on Friday.
“If you look at the women’s program, it’s not taking anything away from anyone, Tim (Walsh) has a proven and sustained success previously and we just felt where we are now and what we are trying to grow towards, he was better suited to that program.
“With the reset and the restructure around the men’s programs, looking at John’s skill set, proven record at coaching the 15-man game and the importance we see in working in close alignment with the Super Rugby coaches and system in bringing through and developing that talent, we just felt he has a lot of experience in that and will be a great asset in that.
“For us to retain the talent we have in these two gentlemen, I’ve been buoyed and encouraged by their degree of positivity and optimism towards the respective change of roles and I have no doubt they are going to make a major impact on the program and drive us to further success.”
The decision comes after an extensive review of the program, which has already seen a reduction in the full-time squad for the men.
Marinos concedes they haven’t provided the necessary attention to the shortened format to capitalise on its success across all levels of the game.
Following both sides making the Final in Dubai, he believes this has validated their initial decision as they look to ‘drive excellence’ across the Sevens and 15-a-side formats.
“I think if anything, that recent run of success has just further validated the work we’ve done beforehand having a deep dive and prioritising the programs and reviewing what had gone on before and into the Olympics,” he believes.
“There has been a reset in strategic focus on what each of the programs are going to deliver to Rugby Australia.
“I think there has also been an acute awareness from my administration that historically the focus and attention on the Sevens program hasn’t been at the level that it should be.
“I’m a firm believer that the Sevens programs across both the women and man if used probably can be very important in not only the growth and sustainability of the game in getting players involved but also to complement and drive the excellence that we want to see in both Sevens and 15s.”
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