Bill Pulver flags overseas Sevens coach
March 28, 2014
Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver is prepared to hire a foreigner as the new coach of the national Sevens team, with the list of candidates thin.
The union has been advertising for a new coach after long-term mentor Michael O'Connor's decision to step down ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Olympic qualification campaign, but Pulver says he might not have an option to employ a home-grown coach because Sevens is such a new concept and expertise is limited.
"I know most rugby punters like to see a national coach from the country concerned, but I've always been of the view that the national team deserves the best coach they can get," Pulver said in reference to the five years that New Zealander Robbie Deans held the Wallabies' reins before the ARU decided to go back to an Australian in Ewen McKenzie, who beat South African Rugby World Cup winner Jake White to the post.
"If that's a foreigner, that's a foreigner. If you have a foreigner and an Australian of similar capabilities, we'll always choose the Australian. But we need to find the best coach."
Australia will tackle the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend under the direction of O'Connor, who is staying on with the team until a replacement is found. There's more than one month after Hong Kong until the next events in Scotland and England, after which the side goes into camp for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but Pulver says he won't be rushed into a decision for any specific tournament.
"I'm not so worried about the Commonwealth Games as I am about the Olympic qualification process, which starts in October," he said. "I want to have it resolved as far ahead of that as possible. We've got to get that team firing for the beginning of the qualification year, so it doesn't give us a lot of time.
"The truth is there's not a long list of seriously experienced Sevens national coaches in the world because Sevens is a new phenomenon. We'll take the time to get it right."