Incoming Australian men's sevens rugby coach Tim Walsh and Rugby Australia general manager of high performance Ben Whittaker in Sydney on Monday.
Incoming Australian men's sevens rugby coach Tim Walsh and Rugby Australia general manager of high performance Ben Whittaker in Sydney on Monday. ADRIAN WARREN

Aussie women lose coach to men

Newly appointed Australian men's sevens rugby coach Tim Walsh will go all out to match the success he has enjoyed with his world-beating women's team.

Walsh (pictured) boasts a World Series winning percentage of 85 per cent, mentoring the Aussie women to the 2015-16 title and 2016 Olympic gold and taking them from fifth to first in the rankings.

He will take over from Andy Friend, whose contract hasn't been renewed beyond July, with a handover date set for after next month's Commonwealth Games.

"The nature of our job is brutal and Andy and I have a good relationship,” Walsh said.

"I spoke to him last night and in the typical and expected way from Andy, he was absolutely world class.”

Former Australian sevens player Walsh announced in January he would vacate the women's post after next month's Commonwealth Games.

Rugby Australia general manager high performance Ben Whitaker said: "We believe he has a considerable amount of proven Sevens expertise and offers a coaching style that can continue the progression made by the men's program and take performance to the highest level.”

Asked if he saw the potential for the fourth-ranked men's team to enjoy the same status of the women, Walsh replied: "One hundred per cent. I wouldn't be doing the job if I didn't.

"The coaches before, Friendy particularly, have done an amazing job to set me up and I'm fortunate to be taking over this team from where it is and where it's come.

"But I plan to emulate the success that the women have had, but the directive is to take the team from where it is and make them a podium team.”

Friend is likely to be offered a new role by RA, one connected to sevens and that could include coach development.

While RA didn't look beyond Walsh and Friend for the men's position, Whittaker said John Manenti was acting as interim women's coach through to the World Cup in July.

AAP



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