Aussies Sevens Jenkins quits captaincy

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:02
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NEWS: Ed Jenkins has stepped down from his role as Australia Sevens captain ahead of their 2016/2017 World Rugby Sevens campaign.

Jenkins informed teammates of his decision before the team’s victorious Central Coast Sevens campaign over the weekend and said it was a move he had always planned to make post the Rio Olympic Games.

"This isn’t something that has come about overnight, Friend [Head Coach Andy Friend] and I had been discussing a transition well before the Olympics. With a lot of new faces in the squad, we thought the time was right for the team to start looking to the future," said Jenkins, who is the most capped player in Australian Sevens history.

Lewis Holland has been appointed club captain for the Sevens program, although the Queanbeyan-born playmaker will miss the entire 2016/17 World Series campaign after suffering a ruptured achilles during a pre-season training session.

Australia Sevens Head Coach Andy Friend said: "Ed [Jenkins] and I had been working on a plan for post-Olympics for several months and he has decided that the time was right to hand over the captaincy. Ed has put what he believes is in the best interests of the team ahead of his own personal endeavours, which shows the quality leader that he is.

"Prior to Rio, Ed signed on with the Sevens program until the end of 2018, so he certainly still has a lot to contribute the team in terms of leadership and experience and he will be there to support Lewis and the other guys in the leadership group for at least the next two years,'

On the appointment of 23-year-old Holland as captain, Friend said: "Lewis was the obvious choice to lead the team. Not only was he one of our most outstanding players last season, he has also grown tremendously as a leader and has the respect of the group.

"Lewis suffered a cruel break with his achilles injury, but we wanted to acknowledge his standing within the squad by naming his as captain. Throughout the season we’ll appoint tournament captains for each tournament,"

30-year-old Jenkins, who has captained the Aussie Sevens side since 2011, said he wouldn’t rule out continuing his career in the abbreviated form beyond 2018, after opting for a two-year contract extension rather than pursuing a return to 15-a-side Rugby prior to the Olympic Games.

"Over the next few years, I want to help the younger guys with their leadership and pass on any knowledge I’ve gained over the past eight years," said Jenkins.

"I never thought I’d get to Rio, so you never know what’s around the corner and this is potentially my last Sevens contract, so I want to give it everything to put the team in good stead," he said.

The Australia Sevens team will begin its 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai on December 2.

The squad features several new faces ahead of its new campaign, with Sevens program veterans Cam Clark (Waratahs), Pama Fou (Rebels), Tom Cusack (Brumbies) and Alan Faalavaau (released) among the departures from the team following the Rio Olympics.

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