No new contract for Friend

SYDNEY – Australia men’s sevens coach Andy Friend has been told his contract will not be renewed when it expires in July, with the 48-year-old failing to be re-appointed after Rugby Australia opened the job up to applications late last year.

Friend had been in charge of the team since early 2016 and will lead them at next month’s Commonwealth Games on home soil on the Gold Coast.

The governing body said Friend’s successor would be named on Monday.

“The process for appointing a head coach beyond Andy’s current term commenced late last year,” RA high performance manager Ben Whitaker said in a statement on Friday.

“Andy was one of the outstanding candidates we considered for the role and the decision to appoint a new coach has been an extremely difficult one.

“With respect to Andy, who has handled himself with incredible class and has been the consummate professional throughout this process, we will confirm that appointment on Monday.”

Whitaker said he hoped Friend would remain with RA in a different role.

Australia’s men are currently fourth in the standings on the Sevens World Series, having won their home tournament in Sydney in January. It was their first tournament win in six years.

The next stop on the circuit is in Hong Kong from April 6-9 before the Commonwealth Games tournament runs from April 13-15.

The Sevens World Cup is in San Francisco from July 20-22.