John quits Aussie Sevens for WRU job

Date published: August 24 2015

The Australian Rugby Union is looking for a new Sevens head coach after Geraint John resigned to take up a job with the Welsh Rugby Union.

John will step down from his job as Australian Director of Rugby Sevens and Australian Men’s Sevens head coach at the end of the month for family reasons and will return to the UK where he will take up a role as the WRU's elite coach development manager.

He returns to Wales after 10 years' experience working abroad, working first with Canada Rugby as High Performance Director and then Sevens Head Coach before joining the ARU as Director of Sevens in May 2014, heading up the men's and women's Sevens set-ups and as head coach of the Australian Men's Sevens side.

"I'm thrilled to have been chosen to take on this exciting new role. Having spent ten years away from Wales, I feel I have a huge amount to give back to Welsh rugby, developing the next generation of elite coaches for Wales," said John.

"The ultimate goal of this role is to develop our top, up-and-coming coaches so that we have Welsh coaches who can coach Wales. 

"I'll be looking at our national age grade and pathway coaches, and working with coaches within the Regions and the Premiership, to see how we can help and support them. 

"We also have some excellent Welsh coaches working outside of Wales so I'll look to see how I can help and advise them too with the ultimate vision to help develop coaches who can step onto the international scene.

"Each coach is different, with different strengths and requirements, so my first role will be to create an affinity with them and a good relationship going forward."

WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey said: "Strategically, this is a vital new role and we are delighted to have secured the services of such an experienced coach as Geraint. His track record speaks for itself, and his knowledge of Welsh rugby is considerable.

"As a governing body, we invest a huge amount in the development of talented players, but equally, for that talent to reach its full potential, we need to invest in our coaches."

In addition to his current role as head coach of the Australian Women’s Sevens team, Tim Walsh will assume responsibility for the Men’s program in a temporary capacity until a suitable replacement for the Head Coach position is appointed.

The current Australian Sevens coaching structure, including recently appointed set-piece and contact coach John Manenti, will continue to contribute across both Sevens programs. Scott Bowen, meanwhile, will be elevated to the position of Sevens Performance Program Manager, taking on overall program responsibilities held by Geraint John.

“While obviously we are sad to lose Geraint, we respect his decision entirely," said Ben Whitaker, General Manager – Pathways and Performance at the Australian Rugby Union.

"We do, however, have the right structure in place to ensure this won’t negatively impact either the Men’s or Women’s players or the program in general. 

"In fact, given all coaching staff including Tim [Walsh] have already worked with the Men’s squad in some detail, we are extremely confident we will maintain the program’s momentum and development until a new coach is appointed.

“Scott Bowen will assume expanded responsibilities as Australian Sevens Program Manager while we are also fortunate to have one of the most experienced Team Managers on the World Series circuit in Luca Liussi to ensure a seamless transition.”

John was appointed to the role with the Australian Sevens program in June 2014 after succeeding Michael O’Connor and within a month led the country to a Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Under the guidance of John, Australian finished the 2014/15 Sevens World Series in fifth spot, 12 points behind fourth-placed England.

The Australian Rugby Union will commence its search for a new Australian Men’s Sevens head coach with immediate effect.