Henry Hutchison has no regrets about testing the Super Rugby waters this year, returning to the Aussie Sevens for another Olympic opportunity.
Rio Olympian Hutchison has signed a two-year deal with the Sevens, running through to the end of 2020, released by the Rebels halfway through a two-year Super Rugby contract.
The 2016 Sevens Rookie of the Year inked a deal with the Rebels through to 2019 before a final decision was made on which Australian would be axed from the competition.
When the Rebels survived and became one of the deepest teams in Super Rugby, Hutchison was pushed down the pecking order, unable to make his Super Rugby debut.
So, when men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh came calling with the opportunity to play in a World Cup and potentially the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he was all ears.
“For me, I haven't achieved much this year,” Hutchison said.
“Obviously going down to Super Rugby and learning heaps, I've done a lot, but playing wise I haven’t done a lot, so I thought that (World Cup) would be a good carrot for me to achieve at the end of the year, so it kind of got me over the line.
Though his Super Rugby stint didn’t unfold how he had hoped, Hutchison said he didn’t regret the move.
“When I signed, it was in the format of five teams and then the world changed and then the environment of Super Rugby changed dramatically and I think you see a lot of players have been affected by that, I'm one of them,” he said.
“But I learned so much - I grew heaps as a player, I learned off players like Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge - to have blokes like Will Genia around, it's pretty exceptional for me to learn and be a sponge and absorb all the information and learnings from them.
“So, as a player, I've grown leaps and bounds - yes, I've missed out on cementing myself in a sevens jersey and I missed out on Sydney 7s , which was hard to watch, but I don't regret it at all.”
A development tournament in Japan kicked off Hutchison’s transition back to the shorter format, and he is all but certain to be a part of the Aussie squad in the World Cup later this month.
Beyond that, the 2020 Olympics is Hutchison’s major focus, thought he hasn't turned his back on another XVs switch down the track.
“I'd definitely keep the XVs door open,” he said.
“I grew up wanting to go to the Olympics and I grew up wanting to play for the Wallabies. Hopefully one day maybe they can both come true.
“For now my mind will be set on Sevens and doing everything I can to do well at the Olympics but I'll always keep that door open to XVs and I'll try and prove to myself that I can play at that level in XVs.”
The Sevens World Cup kicks off in San Francisco on July 20, running until July 22.
ARU by Beth Newman