Winger takes Olympic flight with sevens

Henry Hutchison jumps for a high ball during an Australian men's rugby sevens training session at Sydney Academy of Sport this week. Photo: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images.
Henry Hutchison jumps for a high ball during an Australian men's rugby sevens training session at Sydney Academy of Sport this week. Photo: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images.

His coach has nicknamed him "Pinball" and now 18-year-old winger Henry Hutchison is hoping to show the rest of the sevens rugby world why.

Australia will take on the likes of Nauru, Cook Islands and Tonga as it bids to make the Olympic Games in Rio next year.

The two-day Oceania tournament in Auckland begins tomorrow with the winner guaranteed a berth in Brazil.

Hutchison was playing schoolboy rugby a year ago before being noticed in his debut season for Randwick in the Shute Shield.

He joined the Aussie squad in July and was man of the match in the final of last month's Central Coast sevens, which the Australians won, earning him a place in this weekend's tournament.

Coach Tim Walsh chose the name "Pinball" as Hutchison has a great turn of speed, but the youngster said he still had plenty to learn about the game.

"It is a different game to 15s and that's what a lot of people don't understand," he said. "It takes time to learn and adapt to the game but once you get kind of hold of it, it's a lot of fun."

Hutchison said he was still pinching himself about the possibility of representing his country as sevens makes its Olympic debut and he said it would be a dream come true if the team made it through this weekend's tournament to qualify for Brazil.

"To know that I've just helped to get an Australian team to the Olympics, I wouldn't have even been thinking of that at school last year.

"Knowing that I can contribute in one way or another is awesome."

The teenager says he is hoping that sevens can be his pathway to success in the 15-man game.

"You learn a lot of running rugby, they make you quicker, faster, stronger.

Australia will play Nauru, Cook Islands and Tonga on day one in pool A.

All competing teams will progress to finals day and seeded according to their final pool placing.



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