May 27,2014 ISN – The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has today announced the appointment of Geraint John as head coach of the men’s national rugby sevens team.
Joining the ARU from Rugby Canada, where he has been head coach since 2010, John takes over the reins from Michael O’Connor, who stepped down as head coach in February after six years in the role.The 51-year-old Welshman is due to take control on June 23, before leading the team to Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in July.He will then be tasked with confirming qualification for the Aussies at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, with qualification due to kick off with the first leg of the 2014-2015 HSBC Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast in October.
“Australian Rugby is steeped in history and, in my opinion, the role of men’s sevens head coach is one of the best team jobs in the sport,” John said.”While the prospect of coaching at the Olympics is an extremely appetising one, for me, the next tournament is always the most important.”My first priority is to prepare and work with the players and to get to know them at the centralised base and then in competition at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.”However, I am under no illusion that one of the key targets of the ARU is for the men’s sevens team to secure a gold medal in Rio.”While you can never guarantee anything in sport – and especially the Olympics – I am delighted to be given the opportunity to give us the best possible chance of bringing back gold in 2016.”However, the first step for this team is to qualify.”We need to make sure we have the best structure and programme to make this happen.”We have many big challenges ahead in the coming months but a challenge is something I thrive on.”Michael [O’Connor] has left behind an extremely talented squad.”It is one of the youngest in the World Series and they’re continuing to improve.”I am looking forward to meeting them on an individual basis and as a group next month.”
Australia’s men’s rugby sevens team came fifth in the 2014-2015 HSBC World Sevens Series and will be hoping to improve as they bid for gold at Glasgow 2014 ©Getty ImagesARU’s general manager of national teams and competition Andrew Fagans, added:
“Throughout the interview process, the ARU was unanimous that Geraint was the outstanding candidate.”When we commenced our search there were three essential criteria that candidates had to meet.”Firstly, experience coaching rugby sevens at international level.”Secondly, the ability to drive an elite high performance, centralised programme; and finally have the ability to grow and promote the sport of rugby sevens in Australia.”Geraint showed a genuine hunger for the role of Qantas men’s sevens head coach and brings with him a huge level of experience and knowledge, along with a real passion to play an important role in the development of rugby sevens in this country.”We are extremely confident that we have made an appointment that will build on the foundation Michael O’Connor has laid over the past six years.”John began coaching in 1992 following a playing career that included representative honours with Wales A, Wales B and selection for the Barbarians.After spending six years with Cardiff Rugby Football Club and Cardiff Blues as assistant coach, he served under legendary Kiwi coach Graham Henry as skills coach with the Welsh national team from 1999 to 2001 and had a spell as head coach of the Wales national sevens team.He joined Rugby Canada in 2006 as high performance director and then became head coach of Rugby Canada’s sevens team in 2010, where he led the country back to core status in the World Series in 2012.