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Rugby 7s

Total investment (Australian Rugby Union) 2016-17:$1,960,750 (high performance: $1,026,250; participation $650,000; other $284,500)

ASC funding as a percentage of total income: 3% 

The women’s 7s program achieved its aspiration winning gold at the sport’s Olympic debut in Rio having won the 2016 world rugby series. The men’s program finished eighth in Rio, their performance hampered by losing key players to injury in the pool stages.

The 7s program has evolved from being camps based and moving to a centralised program for 20+ contracted players of each gender. It now has a clearer view on what is needed to refine and improve to be more successful in Tokyo. The player group has been reasonably stable, with some additions from the national emerging and youth programs incorporating talent ID, training camps and the new national championships.

Following the Rio campaign the men’s program lost five senior players which will require the 7s team to re-build for the 2017–18 season and possibly the 2018 Commonwealth Games and World Cup. However, there has been considerable change in staff to the men’s program including five different head coaches.

There has been continuity of women’s coaching and management staff. This tightknit team, supported by others, has developed their women’s 7s knowledge quickly to stay ahead of other countries, seeking information from other codes and countries.

The introduction of Rugby 7s to the Olympic Games has added interest to rugby around the world resulting in the rapid development of knowhow, with more countries centralising their national teams and creating local competitions. European teams have a distinct advantage with regional competition structures developed to give exposure to a wider squad of players. Oceania lags behind and competition exposure for developing younger players is a concern. ARU 7s will deliver a university-based women’s tournament for about eight teams in 2017 with support from University Sport, to be followed by a men’s later in the 
cycle.

Governance commentary

Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is largely compliant with the ASC’s Mandatory Sports Governance Principles. Over the previous 12 months, it has updated its constitution to embed a minimum of five board meetings per year and the CEO cannot be appointed to the board within three years of leaving the role. The ARU continues to perform strongly with integrity matters and has developed a robust integrity framework underpinned by sound education and training programs. It should look to appoint an external and independent chartered accountant or certified practising accountant to the Audit and Risk Committee.

2016 Benchmark event // Olympic Games (men)

Medal target: 0-1

Actual: gold 0 silver 0 bronze 0 total 0

Non-medal target: Y

2016 Benchmark event // Olympic Games (women)

Medal target: 1

Actual: gold 1 silver 0 bronze 0 total 1

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