Wallaby to put Test career on hold for Olympics
NEWS: Wallaby Jack Maddocks will put his Test rugby career on hold as he chases Olympic glory with the Australian Sevens team.
The 22-year-old’s stint with the Sevens program is set to be extended through the first half of 2020 with Maddocks looking to lock down a place for the Tokyo Games.
He helped the men’s team book an Olympics berth through a qualification tournament in Fiji earlier this month after being “seconded” into the squad.
If Maddocks makes the team for the Olympics, which runs from July 24 to Aug 9, he will be unavailable for the two-Test Ireland series in June as well as the opening Bledisloe Cup match in Melbourne on Aug 8.
His Super Rugby team Melbourne and the Australian Sevens management will meet this week to nut out a program for the young flyer to continue in both forms of the game.
An exciting outside back, Maddocks has played six Test matches and narrowly missed out on the Wallabies World Cup squad.
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— RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) November 22, 2019
Maddocks was still very much required by the Rebels but chief executive Baden Stephenson said they wanted to come up with a plan to keep all parties satisfied.
There are 10 rounds of the World Rugby Sevens series before the Olympics.
“We’re working through it this week,” Stephenson said.
“We’re working through the timings of the tournaments and national representation will probably take precedence, so that’s Wallabies and Sevens, but they’re very happy to work with us and look at the different windows of when he’s available.
“Jack’s really keen to play in the Olympics and we want to support him – it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Maddocks started the 2019 Super Rugby season in dazzling style but his form slumped toward the end as the Rebels’ title hopes fell away.
The Rebels know the young Sydneysider is at his best when he’s happy and are willing to think outside the square to keep him in Melbourne.
“Jack’s a confidence player and when he’s happy and enjoying himself, he’s scoring tries and playing good rugby,” Stephenson said.
“This was a way to re-energise him and give him a new challenge and from all reports he’s really enjoying it.”
Veteran Quade Cooper tried to switch to Sevens in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics but ultimately fell short while former Wallabies wing Nick Cummins made the transition between both forms, earning 35 Sevens caps – including a Commonwealth Games silver medal – along with 15 Test appearances.