Dual Olympian and UNSW Commerce student Henry Hutchison has been selected in the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens squad to start the 2021/22 World Series in Dubai this week.
Hutchison, at just 24, is one of the more experienced players in a youthful new-look squad following the Australian Men’s Sevens team's very disappointing end to their second Olympic campaign in Tokyo, mid-year.
Australia was bundled out by eventual gold medalists and defending champions Fiji 19-0 in the quarter finals.
Limited fixtures were possible during the 2021 World Series due to the ongoing effects and travel restrictions associated with COVID-19, meaning Dubai marks the first time Australia will feature since the pandemic stopped the 2019/20 season.
Hutchison and the Australian Men’s team start their World Series campaign against Canada late Thursday night, followed by France and a rematch against Fiji, both the next day.
This season’s World Series takes on extra importance for Australia in the build-up to next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
Set to graduate at the end of next year Hutchison was World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2015/16, with now 174 Sevens caps to his credit, and awarded 2016’s UNSW Male Athlete of the Year.
He has been a Ben Lexcen Scholar throughout his degree and was awarded a UNSW Sporting Blue earlier this year.
Before heading to Tokyo, Hutchison spoke about the emphasis he places on a post-football career and how the UNSW Elite Athlete program is helping him to achieve that.
“I'm traveling six months of the year and UNSW are just doing everything they can to keep giving me the information I need to continue to my degree or finding supplementary exams for me to finish and I've never really had an issue,” Hutchison said.
“(The Elite Athlete Program offers) 24/7 support to adapt to all situations for so many different athletes.
“I'm playing rugby, but I know we've got athletes in water polo, cricket, athletics, that all have different needs and requirements that UNSW just adapts to, and they're very flexible.
“(With) rugby you meet so many people around the world, it's such a global game.
“A lot of corporates sponsor the team and get involved around tournaments and games, so your network becomes quite large. I think with (my) degree, and my football, they work really well together and hopefully I can secure a job shortly after I retire.”