NSW Waratahs forward, Michael Wells will combine his Vodafone Super Rugby duties with the Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens squad, under a new flexible contract arrangement agreed between Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby alongside Wells.
Wells will be available for the first six tournaments on the HSBC Sevens World Series, before returning to play for the NSW Waratahs for the 2019 Vodafone Super Rugby season.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach, Tim Walsh said: “Michael is a talented and experienced player in both forms of the game and brings with him leadership and ruthless edge to high performance.
“He’s quick, aggressive around the park and has all the hallmarks of a player who can transition into the Sevens arena.
“I’m a firm believer that playing Sevens makes our athletes into better Rugby players; Sevens magnifies your skills as a player, as a person and it delivers accountability.
“We’ve developed players in Sevens and accelerated and improved their abilities giving them the skills to play for the Wallabies and to be Olympians. Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Sean McMahon, Matt Giteau, James Stannard and Ed Jenkins are all testament to this.
“We are now two years out from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and we are looking for the best Australian rugby players with or seeking Sevens experience.
“The message is that there are options available for players to pursue an Olympic dream without having to drop their Super Rugby and Wallaby ambitions.
“We want the best athletes playing our game and we believe opportunities like this will open the eyes of many talented young athletes to choose Sevens as a career, a pathway or for skill acquisition.”
NSW Waratahs Coach Daryl Gibson said: “Michael had an outstanding Super Rugby season in 2018 and was one of our best forwards throughout the year. We are thrilled that we have been able to retain him through a flexible arrangement with Sevens to keep him in Australia but also have him available for the NSW Waratahs.”
“This agreement comes with challenges given the physical demands of each format, however, Michael is one of our most professional and dedicated players and if anyone can overcome those, he can.
"He is a player who has proven that Sevens is a viable pathway for the fifteens game and he has shown his ability to adapt. The game will certainly benefit from his strong leadership qualities and I cannot wait to see him do well in both.”
NSW Waratahs and Qantas Australia Men’s Sevens Player, Michael Wells said: “I’m looking forward to the next year which is going to be an exciting challenge of both Sevens and XVs.
“The HSBC Sevens World Series is one of the toughest competitions in the world, so I am looking forward to getting into training with the squad and getting ready for the World Series.
“I’d like to thank both NSW Rugby and Rugby Australia for finding the right balance for me with both programs and I am looking forward to putting my best foot forward whether I’m in a gold or blue jersey over the next 12 months.”
The flexible contract is not unique to Sevens Rugby with Blitzboks star Seabelo Senatla having combined his Stormers duties with South Africa’s Sevens program and Henry Speight who balanced the Australian Sevens with his Brumbies contract in 2016.
DOB: 3 May 1993
Super Rugby Caps: 43
Club Rugby: Norths