Rugby Australia has today announced the appointment of Tim Walsh as Australian Women’s Sevens coach and John Manenti as Australian Men’s Sevens coach until 2024.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said: “We’re pleased to announce Tim Walsh and John Manenti will be taking up the respective Women’s and Men’s sevens coaching roles with Rugby Australia.
“This has been the culmination of a post-Olympic review and resetting of the strategic focus of both programs. In addition to this the Sevens will continue to play an important role within the overall high performance system and restructure that will deliver greater alignment between our National, Super Rugby and Super W teams. Their appointments have been the result of a recruitment process where a number of candidates were interviewed for the positions.
“We will now focus our attention on working with them both over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition between the programs, in preparation for Tim’s return to the Australian Women’s Sevens and John’s to the Australian Men’s Sevens.
“We’re fortunate that both coaches have worked within the programs and are known to the playing group and staff, so we expect it will be a smooth transition as they shift roles to their new teams given the HSBC World Series is well underway.
“Both Tim and John have a wealth of experience and IP in the world of Sevens. After careful consideration, we felt they were the best two coaches to lead the respective programs forward into the future. They both have a lot to offer and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can do over the next three years as we prepare not only for the Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup later this year but also the Olympics in Paris in 2024.”
Gold medal-winning coach Walsh returns to the head of the Australian Women’s Sevens program for the first time since his side’s silver medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. He has been in charge of the men’s team for the past three years, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games campaign.
Walsh said: “I am both humbled and honoured to be appointed to the position of Australian Women’s Sevens coach.
“The Sevens programs continue to be my passion and the enjoyment derived from coaching some of the best Rugby talent in the world inspires me to impact positive changes within Rugby Australia and Rugby globally.
“Rugby Sevens provides a perfect platform to inspire, innovate and include and as a proud employee of Rugby Australia I will use my expertise to shape and deliver desired organisational outcomes.”
An experienced coach across both 15s and Sevens, Manenti has been heavily involved in the Australian Sevens across both the men’s and women’s programs for the past seven years, having worked as an Assistant Coach with both teams before transitioning into a full-time role with the women ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
His new role follows three years at the helm of the Australian Women’s Sevens team, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games campaign and recent World Series wins in Dubai.
Manenti said: “I’m really excited about the opportunity to return to coaching the men. It’s a great challenge to not only build a successful and winning team, but also be a critical step in the development of Super Rugby players and ultimately Wallabies.
“With the Commonwealth Games and World Cup on the calendar, along with the World Series, there are plenty of opportunities to showcase the team’s talent. I’m also looking forward to aligning with Super coaches to have mutually beneficial outcomes around player availability.
“I’m really proud of my time with the women’s team, obviously the back-to-back tournament wins in Dubai are a highlight. The past few years I’ve invested in youth through a transition period and they are now ready to take on the world. Players like Maddie Ashby, Faith Nathan, Lily Dick, Rhiannon Byers, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Sariah Paki amongst others will become superstars of the game. I hand the team over in great shape and look forward to working with Walshy to ensure a smooth transition for the girls.”
Tim Walsh coaching history
Australian Men’s Sevens, Head Coach 2018-2021
Australian Women’s Sevens, Head Coach 2013-2018
Australian Men’s Sevens, Head Coach 2015 (dual role)
Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens, Coaching Coordinator 2012-13
John Manenti coaching history
Australian Women’s Sevens, Head Coach 2018-2021
Australian Women’s Sevens, Assistant Coach 2016-2018
Australian Sevens, Forwards Coach 2015-2016 (dual role)
Western Sydney Rams, 2017
Buildcorp Wallaroos, 2009-2010 (third in 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup)
Australia U20s, 2009 (fifth at the World Rugby U20s Championship)
Eastwood, 2010-2015, 2018 (Shute Shield in 2011, 2014 and 2015)