The Australian Rugby Union is poised to announce their new Sevens coach, with Welshman Geraint John favourite to replace Michael O’Connor.
To conscript Super Rugby stars for the Commonwealth Games or not – Australia’s new rugby Sevens coach faces an immediate big call on taking the job this week.
The Australian Rugby Union is poised to unveil the man to replace long-time mentor Michael O’Connor, with Welshman Geraint John the favourite for the role.
It will be the successor’s decision whether to invite big-name Super Rugby players into a largely unheralded squad of young battlers for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
O’Connor has given the ARU a shortlist of 15s players they should look at inviting into the Sevens squad to boost their chances of gold in Glasgow.
Queensland’s Test flanker Liam Gill, overlooked for next month’s Wallabies series against France, is among them and he’s keen to go one better than Delhi 2010 when he finished with silver in a team bolstered by Lachie Turner, Nick Cummins and Luke Morahan.
Gill still rues the near miss when he spilt a tough last-gasp pass from Nick Phipps on hot attack when a try would have given Australia an upset final triumph over New Zealand.
“You do (look back in frustration), but I might get a chance to hopefully get over there in Glasgow and change that final,” he said on Monday.
“It’s something I can almost look forward to if I’m not a part of the Wallabies I can run around with the Sevens and it’s something I’m excited about.
“I do miss Sevens. I don’t miss the fitness side of things but I miss the game and I’d love to go back.”
But Gill’s desire is unlikely to have the support from the Reds if it means he’ll miss the last part of their failed Super Rugby campaign.
Even though Queensland are out of finals reckoning, Gill is a pivotal figure as they attempt to save face with wins over the Rebels (June 27), Force (July 5) and Waratahs (July 12).
The Commonwealth Games’ Sevens tournament starts on July 26 and the new coach would want the likes of Gill and Melbourne Rebel Sean McMahon preparing with the team much longer than a fortnight.
Graham was tight-lipped about whether the Reds would release any of their players to the Sevens team.
“I don’t know what the process is, I don’t know if Australia have a Sevens coach at this point and I certainly haven’t seen any policy from the ARU,” he said.
It’s understood the ARU has agreed to terms with O’Connor’s replacement after interviewing candidates, including current Canada mentor John, late last month.