Confidence key in Henry Hutchison’s rapid rise to prominence
A few months ago, very few Australian rugby fans knew the name Henry Hutchison.
If fact, the 19-year old was flying so far under the radar, two of his mates were able to hack his Wikipedia page and take credit for Hutchison’s rise to prominence.
But whether it was the guidance of Xavier “Quick hands” Molyneux and William “On the toe” Dutalis, or the Australian Sevens coaching staff, it’s safe to say rugby fans will be hearing plenty of Hutchison in the years to come.
“Xavier likes to claim that he has been my rugby mentor over the years and used to put me through plenty of gaps back at school,” Hutchison joked.
“But I think he was playing in the 6th’s at Riverview at the time and Will would have been his partner in crime in the centres.”
After graduating from Riverview, the Australian Schoolboy spent six months training with the Brumbies, before returning to Sydney in 2015 to join Shute Shield club Randwick.
It was there that Hutchison was spotted by former Australian’s Sevens coach Geraint John and offered a full time contract in August last year.
“Sevens was always something that I was interested in,” he told Rugby News.
“I was always asking people how I could get involved and how to get noticed and that took a while, but then I kind of just fell into it and got an opportunity and I’m very thankful for that.”
Shortly after joining the full-time squad, Hutchison was selected in the Australian Boys Sevens squad for the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa, but received a shock call-up to the senior squad for the Oceania Olympic qualification tournament in Auckland.
After helping Australia qualify for the Olympics, Hutchison made his World Series debut in Cape Town late last year, before starring at the Sydney 7’s in front of 40,000 fans in February.
“Getting the opportunity to play in my backyard was unbelievable, I had all my mates and all my family there so it was great to finally show them what I’d been doing for the last six months.”
With wind in his sails, Hutchison was one of Australia’s best throughout the two day tournament and admitted confidence was the key to his strong performance.
“Confidence is everything for me and I think that has shown recently. I got my opportunity to play in Wellington and then Sydney and things have just sort of worked out.
“It’s been the same with our team, we’ve got some good momentum behind us at the moment and there is a really good vibe within the squad and I think that is showing on the field.
After finishing second in Sydney, the Australians have continued their strong form on the World Series, reaching the final again in Las Vegas, before finishing third in Vancouver a week later.
“It’s a lot easier to play good football when the team is playing well. All I have to do is my job and that is to finish tries and with the other guys performing so well, it makes my job a lot easier.
“Guys like Ed Jenkins and Lewy Holland have been great. They are playing really good footy at the moment and their leadership has been really important to us young guys. They just back you to do your job and that gives you a lot of confidence.”
Hutchison said he has also learnt plenty from Wallabies Henry Speight and Quade Cooper during their time with the squad.
“Henry has taught me so much already about finishing tries properly and defending space out wide. Quade has so much skill, so that rubs off as well, so hopefully they can lift our standards and make us all better footy players.
“But in saying that, we have our own standards within the squad, so they need to adapt to that as well.”
Wallabies winger Nick Cummins also joined the squad this week and made an immediate impact.
“He’s an interesting character. He came in on his first day and told us all that he only wanted to be called The Badge, so that is his nickname now, but we’ve got a few interesting characters in the squad already, so they’ll give him a run for his money,” Hutchison said.
While Hutchison said he enjoyed having the Wallabies around, he admitted competition within the squad was fierce ahead of the Olympics later this year.
“One of my earliest memories I have as a child is the Sydney Olympics so to now have the opportunity to compete at the biggest event in sport, if I get picked, it’s fairly surreal to be honest.”
With just over four months until the Olympics begin in Brazil, Hutchison said the increased intensity in training has helped lift the overall standard as players battle for a spot in the 12-man squad.
“We’ve really worked hard on finding a few words that define us as a team and help us form our identity. I can’t reveal those two words just yet, but we’ve got them and everything we do in training and in games is based around those words.
“If we can continue to do that, I think the momentum will keep building and the results will continue.”
The 19-year old is battling an ankle injury in the lead up to next month’s Hong Kong Sevens, but is hopeful of returning for the Singapore leg of the series in mid April at the very latest.