In a positive nod to the future ahead of the introduction of the sport to the Olympic Games calendar in 2016, three of this year’s five nominees in the Men’s category for Rugby Sevens Players’ Player are under the age of 23, with veterans Ed Jenkins and James Stannard also nominated after producing outstanding seasons once again.
Coming home with a wet sail for the 2015 calendar year, the Australian side bounced back from a fifth place finish overall on the World Rugby Sevens circuit to comprehensively book their place in Rio de Janeiro with a dominant performance in the Oceania Cup earlier this month.
All five nominees have had outstanding seasons, and will play a big role in our push for a medal in Brazil.
It is no surprise to see Cam’s name in the mix for Players’ Player again, after a standout 2014 season saw Clark deservedly voted as the RUPA Men’s Sevens Players’ Player.
This season Clark passed 500 points in his career, and at just 22 years of age you can expect to see plenty more added to that tally, starting in Dubai in a fortnight’s time at the World Rugby Sevens series opener.
A big and bustling yet elusive forward, Cusack, like most in the Australian squad, grew up crafting his trade in the fifteen-a-side game before joining the Sevens’ program in 2013.
A graduate of Marist College Canberra, Cusack is currently completing a Bachelor of Sports Coaching and Exercise Science through the University of Canberra. His nomination comes on the back of arguably his best season of Rugby Sevens, a season where he complemented his performances for Australia with standout displays for Canberra Royals in the John Dent Cup.
Foley has become ‘Mr Reliable’ of the Australian since his 2011 debut due to his ever-consistent performances for his country.
A former Australian U20s representative (2012) in fifteen-a-side Rugby who has led the side when fellow nominee Jenkins isn’t present, 23 year old Foley doesn’t let his age hinder his leadership skills. Nearing a half century of tries for Australia, 2013 winner Foley has been nominated for the third consecutive season.
The skipper of the Australian team, Jenkins has been a stalwart in the Men’s Sevens set-up since making his debut in 2008 and this is the fourth straight year he has been nominated. As Australia’s highest ever capped Rugby Sevens player, Jenkins’ experience is unparalleled.
Ed was one of the standout players in the Oceania Cup earlier this month, scoring a late try in the final as the Aussies booked their place in next year’s Olympic Games. Jenkins has both a silver and bronze Commonwealth Games medal in his cabinet, and he helped propel his team to Cup Finals in both England and Dubai in the 2014/2015 World Series, but there’s no doubting the mainstay of the Australian side has his sights firmly on Olympic glory in 2016.
They say that nothing can make up for experience, and James Stannard certainly proves that theory right!
The ‘Old Bull’ of the Australian Men’s Sevens team, Stannard’s experience spreads beyond the abbreviated format of the game, with five seasons of Super Rugby to his credit together with Japanese Top League experience. Originally hailing from the Souths Magpies in Brisbane, James has over 500 points to his name when representing Australia.
The winner of the Men’s Sevens Players’ Player award, presented by Hall Chadwick, will be announced at the 2015 RUPA Awards on Wednesday December 9th.
It is voted on by members of the Australian Men’s Sevens team for the player they believe has displayed excellence in areas of performance, leadership, consistency and commitment both on and off the field.