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Sevens stars align for Gold Coast Fever Pitch

11 October 2012

RUGBY SEVENS: Australian Rugby Sevens star Ed Jenkins will once again lead the men’s sevens team onto the pitch at Skilled Park when the first round of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series kicks off at the Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch this weekend.

As the first and only home tournament in the nine rounds of the Series, which takes place in cities across the world, Jenkins is looking forward to playing his chosen form of Rugby and captaining one of Australia’s most experienced Rugby Sevens teams yet.

Jenkins’ Rugby Sevens career began in 2006 at Sydney University when First Grade Coach, Billy Millard, who was also the Coach of the Australian Sevens program at the time, invited Jenkins to a Rugby Sevens camp on the Gold Coast.

Jenkins has stuck with Rugby Sevens ever since current Qantas Men’s Sevens Coach Michael O’Connor joined the program in 2007 and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Looking back, the Rugby Sevens devotee says his decision to focus on the seven-a-side format has been great and is what has brought him success.

“My body couldn’t handle a whole year of Sevens at the same time as 15s, so making that decision was the thing that helped me the most,” Jenkins says.

“I was playing a bit of 15s at Sydney Uni and was part of the NSW Waratahs program but doing both and crossing over between the two made me a bit frustrated.

“Towards the end of 2010 I’d had a few injuries which made it hard to juggle both, so I decided just to focus on Sevens.

“In the last two years I haven’t been able to play any 15s for Sydney Uni, but at the same time that has meant I’ve been a lot better off and fitter for the Sevens program.”

Jenkins can’t hide his passion for Rugby Sevens. Recently speaking with rugby.com.au he explained the main differences between the two Rugby formats and why he made the choice to stick to Sevens.

“You’ve got to have the general skills set of a 15s player, so your catch-pass, one-on-one defence, tackles, and the ruck. But I guess the huge difference between Sevens and 15s is the fitness involved.

“We play six games over a weekend, whereas 15s has one game a week.

“You have to have the ability to back up game after game with a two hour rest/recovery period, so your mental toughness has to be right up there as well.

“In 15s they travel to South Africa, New Zealand and Europe and that’s usually where the travel stops.

“Whereas in Sevens there are nine legs in the IRB World Series and then on top of that we play tournaments overseas in Samoa and with the World Cup in Moscow and the Commonwealth games in Glasgow.

“To be able to play a sport you love and travel the world at the same time is a no brainer for me so Sevens is the way to go.”

As a regular Australian Rugby Sevens international representative with a host of World Series and a Commonwealth Games silver medal under his belt, Jenkins is thankful for the opportunities the game of Rugby Sevens has presented him.

“A highlight would have to be the 2010 Commonwealth Games,” Jenkins says.

“You realise you’re part of the bigger picture representing Australia at a tournament like that and it’s quite exciting to be part of the athlete’s village.

“It was a huge responsibility and a huge honour to represent my country.

“And now, looking forward, the Olympic Games will be like the Commonwealth Games multiplied by a hundred.

“For these younger guys coming through at the moment it’s definitely something to be focusing on.”

First and foremost however, the Qantas Men’s Sevens Captain is focused on the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series when it kicks off at Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October.

“Last year we probably lacked a bit in consistency, so for each tournament in this Series it’ll be a big focus of ours.

“We let ourselves down a bit in some of the rounds last year so we’re definitely going to try to be a lot more competitive and be placed right up the top at the end of each tournament, which will hopefully get us a good result come the end of the year when the rankings are out.

“The Rugby itself is at a high level; the Kiwis are always competitive and will definitely put a show on this year.

“But also you’ve got intervals and breaks where the crowd really get involved and have a good time.

“I think it’s great for the crowd to be involved. It’s two days of Rugby but it’s not just the Rugby that fans are there for, it’s the whole atmosphere that’s created.

“In Hong Kong and Dubai and Twickenham the atmosphere they create is just unbelievable and the fans love it, so it’s certainly more than just Rugby.”

Catch Ed with the rest of the Qantas Men’s Sevens squad and join the exciting atmosphere at Skilled Park by securing your tickets now to Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October, visit ticketek.com.au.

Australian Rugby Union