Australia Sevens keen to poach league and AFL stars
July 22, 2014
The Australian Sevens side line-up ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games © Getty Images
Australia Sevens boss Geraint John has revealed he is keen to bring players across from other sports to help bolster their charge for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.
John will lead Australia into the Commonwealth Games but he is already turning attention to future competitions with the 2016 Rio Olympics looming ever closer. John has only been in charge of Australia since June but he has big plans for the side and they include bringing in talent from rival codes NRL and AFL.
"I want to be able to put a list together of who the next crop of young players are, what players there are in Super Rugby that would make exceptional sevens players," John told the Sydney Morning Herald. "And I will have another page on players in other sports who [I think] 'This player or this athlete would be a really good sevens player'.
"Then I'll go to the ARU and say 'We've got these...how do we get them involved? What's the process of putting a feeler out? How do we go about it?' It won't be just my decision but I'd like to be in the position where I can put all this information down and then go 'OK, how do we go about doing this?' Let's have a plan and strategy in place when those names are put forward."
For John, this recruitment plan is more likely to be utilised for the 2020 Olympics in Japan rather than the Brazil bonanza in two years time. John added: "Things like this may come about more after the Olympics, than before, when people see what happens in Rio. Tell any player - you've got an opportunity to go to an Olympics. It's a big carrot for any athlete.
"So 2020 could be more attractive to them whereas 2016 could be more about the union players. But for me as a coach, I'm very open minded and I do believe that players from other sports - even track and field - will transfer well to the sevens game. You need that speed and physical presence. League has it, AFL provides the kicking and the aerial skills, league provides the running and passing skills. Those two sports would be very attractive from a recruitment basis."
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