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Henry Hutchison: Making history on and off the field

Wed, 22/06/2022, 2:11 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 schedule announced

Juggling the demands of a hectic Sevens schedule and completing a University degree is enough to send anyone crazy. Henry Hutchison wouldn't have it any other way.

Hutchison became the first Sevens player ever to be awarded an AIS Education Scholarship last week, joined by the likes of three-time Winter Olympian Belle Brockhoff and Tokyo bronze medalist rower Ria Thompson.

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The 25-year-old is balancing the completion of a Bachelor of Commence majoring in Finance at UNSW alongside looking to guide the Sevens program to their first World Series title.

“I’m honoured. I’m grateful the AIS provides platforms for athletes to receive grants and scholarships like this, pushing their athletes to look at life beyond footy,” he told Rugby.com.au

I just feel honoured and grateful to feel this support and I hope to do them proud and continue in this plan B after playing for the rest of my life.

“I’ve always been studying so playing and training has always been the norm. It can be difficult at some times but Rugby Australia, UNSW and the AIS are very supportive and flexible, moving heaven and earth to get me through the degree.”

Hutchison has been a mainstay of the program, joining almost immediately out of school at 19, one of few current Sevens players to appear at two Olympics.

During this, Hutchison has found time to complete his degree with only two classes remaining, embracing the 'stress' and chaos with knowledge of just how finite a career can be.

“It can be difficult (balancing study and Sevens),” he admits. “There are certain individuals at UNSW and RA that work extra hard and I have a lot to thank them for, however, I don’t mind the hecticness of it all, a little bit of stress gets a lot of things done quickly.

“I like being busy and you get used to it. I like being productive with my time and I’ve always been aware that whilst it’s always been my dream to play professional football, it won’t last forever.

“It’s funny I just had a conversation with (former Wallaby and Stan Sport commentator) Morgan Turinui about it. I’m 25 now, been in the program for six years and hopefully can get more years out of it but I’m thinking about (life after Rugby) already.

“Rugby is a great game and opens you up to so many people, I’ve met a lot of people in Australia but also globally with the tournaments I play. Having the degree behind me, having the accessibility to individuals that open up doors for jobs is a nice mix.

“I’m always thinking about it, hopefully that time is a long way away but it can creep up on you when you least expect it.”

Rugby is the main focus and Hutchison remains one of the best on the circuit, awarded the Shaun McKay Medal in 2021 as Australia's Player of the Year.

He's continued that form into the 2021-22 series, leading Australia's resurgence as he became the fourth Australian men's player to bring up 100 tries in Vancouver in April.

“It was really special,” he said.

“Scoring 100 tries, you enter a special club of pretty big names that have played for the Australian Sevens team.

“It’s an honour to be in that club. A lot of those tries are off the work of the team. I know it’s a cliche but it’s a testament to the teammates I’m playing with now and in the past.

“I hope to score some more and we’ll see where we get to.”

However, one eye always remains focused on what comes after Rugby.

Like the Sevens circuit, Hutchison is looking for something that is ever-changing and can constantly challenge him when the time eventually comes to hang up the boots.

“Rugby is a job that is always changing and moving, I’m in different locations all the time. I think to suit me best in life after football,” he believes.

“It’s jobs where I’m doing a few different things, staying business and not being mundane in that same role over and over again.

“Working in sport and the commentator, those aspects are the extras and creams on top and I’d love to do that, however, I have that degree in Commence so I’d love to meet a couple of people in the finance world and get that experience.”

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