MELBOURNE, March 30 (Reuters) - John Manenti, coach of the Australian women’s rugby sevens side, has put his hand up for the New South Wales Waratahs job after the Tokyo Olympics, Australian media reported.
The winless Waratahs sacked head coach Rob Penney on Sunday after slumping to their fifth successive defeat in Super Rugby AU this season.
The 2014 Super Rugby champions are now in the hands of assistant coaches Chris Whitaker and Jason Gilmore while looking to recruit a permanent replacement.
Manenti is committed to guiding the women’s sevens team in their Olympic title defence but told Fox Sports’ website he would be keen to try to turn the Sydney team’s fortunes around.
“I’d love to at some stage move into Super Rugby and I’d love to be able to do something to improve the current situation at the Waratahs,” Manenti said.
The Waratahs’ former assistant coach Simon Cron, who was seen as a potential candidate to replace Penney, has already ruled himself out after recently re-signing as head coach of Japanese team Toyota Verblitz.
“In good faith I just couldn’t push things any longer. Timing is obviously a killer,” Cron told the Sydney Morning Herald late on Monday.
The Waratahs have launched a review of player recruitment and retention after losing a host of internationals in recent years.
Manenti said the Waratahs’ recruiters needed to re-focus on the Shute Shield, New South Wales state’s premier club competition, to find players to bolster their roster over the long term.
“We’ve gone away from what our best source of players was, and potentially the best club competition in Australia, and we started picking development players to be project players,” Manenti said.
“But I don’t know if in the last three or four years there’s been a real concern about what happens at club land.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford