Qantas Australian Women’s coach Tim Walsh will step aside following the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast after five seasons in charge of the all-conquering Women’s side.
Walsh led the Australian Women’s side to the Gold Medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero and secured Australia’s first-ever HSBC World Sevens Series title in the same year.
The team currently leads this season’s HSBC World Series after a resounding round one tournament win in Dubai in December.
The 38-year old will leave his post on April 30 to spend time with his growing family, wife Roza and their son Tiger.
Outgoing Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens coach, Tim Walsh said: “When I got a call from David Nucifora (then High Performance Manager) six years ago offering me a Coaching Coordinator role for both Australian Rugby Sevens teams, I would never have imagined how this opportunity would transpire; an Olympic Gold medal, a World Series Championship, the growth of a new genre and era in women’s contact sport as well as lifelong friendships.
“I believe every job has a shelf life and as a group we’ve achieved the pinnacle of success in our sport. I move on with a heavy heart but I know that the timing is right for the program to progress and for me to explore new challenges”.
“I’ll depart the program leaving it in a very healthy position, with world class players, pathways for our elite development group and importantly, specialised and experienced Sevens coaches and management staff.
“It was an honour and a privilege to be given the responsibility by Rugby Australia to lead the Australian Women’s Sevens team for the past five seasons. Throughout my time I’ve had the support, freedom, and above all the trust and belief in my ability to do the job successfully. All of my expectations have been exceeded in terms of results and the personal and professional relationships I have forged.
“I have worked with and developed some of the best rugby players and coaches in Australia, and my time with Rugby Australia has been one of the most rewarding and enriching times of my life both on and off the field.
“Off the field I met my future wife at Rugby Australia, we have since welcomed our son Tiger. I was also supported in undertaking and completing an MBA, as well as other personal development opportunities,” Walsh said.
Originally appointed Rugby Sevens Program Coaching Coordinator in July 2012, Walsh now boasts the highest winning percentage of any Australian professional coach (84%).
Current assistant coach John Manenti will take the reins at end of April until the completion of 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens with Rugby Australia to commence their search for a new head coach ahead of the 2018/19 HSBC Sevens World Series.
Rugby Australia High Performance General Manager, Ben Whitaker said: “Tim has been a tremendous asset for the Sevens program for a number of years and he has left a lasting legacy for the game in this country, and for Women’s sport as well.”
“It’s certainly tough to say goodbye to Tim but I can’t thank him enough for his commitment and his passion during his time with Rugby Australia.
“He’s a fantastic coach and I’m very confident he won’t be lost to Australian Rugby for long. He’s got a growing family and has sacrificed a lot over the years with all the time spent away on the road.
“John Manenti is a superb fit to takeover on an interim basis. He’s been with the team for a number of years, including the Olympic campaign, and has a lot of runs on the board as a Head Coach for Eastwood in the Shute Shield competition and NRC experience,” Whitaker said.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens
Olympic Gold Medal – Rio 2016
HSBC Sevens World Series title – 2015/16
Seven HSBC Sevens World Series tournament wins
HSBC Sevens World Series win percentage 84%
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens
Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship – 2015 (Olympic Games Qualifier)
Win percentage 100%