Rugby Australia won’t offer Andy Friend new contract

By Melissa Woods,

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    Andy Friend’s tenure as coach of the Australian men’s sevens team will come to an end in July after just 18 months in the job.

    Rugby Australia says Friend unsuccessfully applied for a new contract, with the former Brumbies coach’s successor to be named on Monday.

    Australian women’s sevens coach Tim Walsh is the obvious choice, after he announced in January he would step down after next month’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and declared his interest in overseeing the men’s side.

    Walsh steered the hugely successful women’s team to gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and also helped them to a maiden World Series win in the 2015-16 season.

    Rugby Australia said on Friday it was eager to keep Friend in the fold in a new position still in development.

    The announcement of Friend’s departure comes just 24 hours after he revealed his Commonwealth Games squad.

    “Andy is an incredibly experienced coach and he has done a first-class job in developing and implementing a quality professional program,” said RA general manager high performance Ben Whitaker.

    “He has demonstrated a great ability to advance players, on and off the field and produce an outfit that is now capable of competing with any team in the world.

    “Importantly, Andy will continue to lead the team into the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next month with a goal of winning gold on home soil.”

    Friend guided the Aussie men to a drought-breaking tournament victory at the Sydney 7s in January – their first World Series tournament win in six years.

    Whitaker said the process for appointing a new men’s seven’s coach started late last year.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • March 16th 2018 @ 5:32pm
      Gepetto said | March 16th 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

      Not before time.

      • March 17th 2018 @ 9:38am
        Daveski said | March 17th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Not sure I agree Gepetto… there’s been definite improvement in results and performance since Rio despite a lot of changes with Hutchinson, Clark, Cusack, Con Foley, Fou and Jenkins all gone.

        Talent ID and blooding of young players been very good.

        Friend seems to be a little lacking in the charisma stakes but then so is Gordon Tietjens…

    • March 16th 2018 @ 6:16pm
      Bakkies said | March 16th 2018 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

      The RA never change your true colours.

    • March 17th 2018 @ 9:48am
      A Enig said | March 17th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Winning one tournament is not success. Being consistently in the top 2 is success. Every chance we finish as low as sixth at the end of the tourament.

      New coach. New ideas.

      • March 17th 2018 @ 2:27pm
        Bakkies said | March 17th 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

        As opposed to the days when the 7s team were knocked out by the likes of Portugal, France and Spain then going on strike. The team has consistently made Cup Quarter Finals under Friend and they have had change in leadership.

    • March 17th 2018 @ 3:36pm
      Rhys Bosley said | March 17th 2018 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

      It’s a bit of a shame Walsh appears to be leaving the women’s team for the men’s. Men’s and women’s sevens are really on a par in the public consciousness and now in terms of pay, so why mess with the Olympic gold winning formula with the women’s? The only thing I can think of is if there was a desire for a female coach for the women, but I don’t see why a suitably qualified woman couldn’t apply to coach the men’s team.

      • March 19th 2018 @ 11:06am
        Rhys said | March 19th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        I’m not so sure its about moving on to something bigger if Tim Walsh goes from the womens to the mens 7s. Most coaches will find the same environment becomes stale after a while, even with new players coming through the system. He’s achieved just about all he can in womens 7s, might just be time to move on to a different challenge…

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