Family first for national Sevens coach

THE Australian Rugby Union will launch a global search for a new Sevens head coach after the shock resignation of its coaching director Geraint John for family reasons.

With his wife working in Canada, and his daughter attending University in Britain, John informed the ARU it was time to put his family first, saying he could not continue through to Rio late next year.

ALL OVER: Geraint John.
ALL OVER: Geraint John.

Despite assurances from the ARU that John's decision to return home to Britain to be with his wife and family would not impact on Australia's quest for gold at next year's Rio Olympics, the timing is not great a year out from the Games.

Australia will need to win the Oceania qualifying tournament in November to get to Rio after narrowly missing out when fifth on the HSBC Sevens World Series table.

National women's coach Tim Walsh will take over the men's program until a new coach is appointed, hopefully well before the Oceania tournament to give the successful candidate time to familiarise themselves with the system.

John was appointed Sevens director and men's head coach in June last year after he spent four years in charge of the Canadian men's team. He guided Australia to a bronze medal at last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Wallabies World Cup squad members Quade Cooper and Henry Speight recently re-committed to the ARU on the basis they would have the chance to be part of Australia's squad for the Olympics. It is understood Israel Folau was also keen to join them in Rio.

ARU general manager Ben Whittaker said: "While obviously we are sad to lose Geraint, we respect his decision entirely."