Sydney University Football Club has two players in the men’s rugby Sevens squad today announced for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Ed Jenkins, the most capped Australian Sevens player, will captain the men’s side, which also includes SUFC team-mate Pat McCutcheon, while Sydney Uni Elite Athlete Program member Chloe Dalton has been named in the women’s Sevens team.
Jenkins, with 45 Sevens appearances for his country, recently signed a new two-year contract with the Australian Sevens program. The significance of the contract extension is he will be available for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, to be held on the Gold Coast.
Jenkins, 30, is already a dual Commonwealth Games medallist. After making his debut in the national Sevens side in 2008, he won a silver medal at the 2010 Games in Delhi, where Australian finished second. He was also a member of the team that won bronze at the 2014 Games in Glasgow.
“It’s a brilliant time for Rugby Sevens with the Olympics fast approaching but even after that it’s just as exciting with the Commonwealth Games in 2018 on home soil and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco too,” Jenkins said.
“We’re looking to build depth in the program and I’m looking forward to being able to pass on my knowledge to the new players looking to make their mark over the next two years.”
Jenkins was a key member of the 2010 Sydney University side that won the Shute Shield, though Sevens commitments saw him miss the finals series. He is renowned for his strength, speed and all-round rugby skills.
McCutcheon was raised with his rugby-playing siblings on a farm at Narromine, in the NSW central west before being schooled at St Joseph’s College, from whence he was selected in the 2005 Australian Schoolboys team.
After enrolling at Sydney University and joining SUFC’s Colts program, he was selected in the Australian Under 19 side. A tough as teak flanker in the XV man version of the game, he had the ideal skills and speed for Sevens and broke into the National Sevens on the 2007 World Series tour. He continued a long career with the NSW Waratahs before being called on to lead the Australian Sevens team in the 2009-10 World Series. McCutcheon also led the Australian Sevens to silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. He is a current SUSF Elite Athlete Program member and a tireless supporter of a number of charities and grass-roots rugby far and wide. McCutcheon was a joint winner of the 2014 Rugby Union Players Association Community Service Award.
Dalton, a fifth year Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) student and SUSF Elite Athlete Program scholar, has had a meteoric rise in the game since switching from basketball with the Sydney Uni Flames 18 months ago. She trained with the Australian Rugby Sevens program from mid-2014 and was handed a full-time contract at the end of that year. Her agility and enviable ball skills transferred seamlessly to Sevens, which will for the first time be contested in Rio.
The Women’s Sevens Tournament will lead the way with the first pool match for Australia against Colombia starting Sunday, August 7 at 2:30am AEST. Other pool matches versing Fiji and the U.S.A follow. The Australian Men start their campaign against France on Wednesday, August 10 with the kick off at 12 am AEST. Further pool matches follow against Spain and South Africa.
Meanwhile, SUFC outside-centre Jim Stewart has been named on the bench for NSW Waratahs match against Auckland Blues this Friday. It will be his Waratahs debut should he be called off the bench.
SUFC also has eight players in the run-on side, including props Paddy Ryan and Tom Robertson, second-rowers Dean Mumm and Will Skelton, flanker and skipper Dave Dennis, halves Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley and outside-centre Israel Folau, while prop Jeremy Tilse joins Stewart on the bench.
These selections are a massive vote of confidence in the quality of players and environment of excellence that is Sydney University Football Club (SUFC).