Rugby Australia is today pleased to publicly confirm that former Olympic Champion Emilee Barton (nee Cherry) has been appointed the assistant coach of the Australian Women's Sevens program.
A member of Australia's gold medal-winning team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a match winner in Australia's first World Series triumph in 2015-16 and the first Australian to win World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2014.
Barton will re-join the Australian program as they look to bring home the World Series Championship during their next tournament in Langford. With a first or second place finish seeing the program claim the World Series title for the first time since 2018.
Pivotal to the eight tournament wins by the women's program from Sao Paulo to Atlanta, Dubai to London and, finally, Sydney in 2018, Barton scored a staggering 131 tries across her World Series career, seeing her more than experienced to link up with the program.
Barton recently completed an intensive coach development program with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
The AIS Elevate Athlete2Coach program was launched in 2021 to support elite athletes with their ambitions to transition into coaching. It has a strong emphasis on progressing more women coaches into national roles.
The appointment also marks a historic occasion for the Women's team, with Barton becoming the first female to join the coaching staff of RA's flagship program.
New Australian Women's Sevens Coach Emilee Barton said: "It's wonderful to be back in a team and an environment with which I have fond memories.
"While I was sad to step away from the team playing months out from the Olympics, to take the time and work on my future was so important and I'm grateful for all the support, particularly that of Sport Australia and RA to help me develop as a coach which has seen me come full circle and re-join the Sevens program.
"I'm excited to be back working alongside Walshy (Tim Walsh) and with a group of girls who I used to play alongside. Not only does the team has so much potential and promise, but the next few months are also monumental for Rugby Sevens."
Australian Women's Sevens Program Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "I'm thrilled to welcome Emilee on board as a part of the coaching staff. This appointment holds strong relevance in the strategic investment and vision for the future of the program”
"Her playing experience, coupled with her existing relationships with the players and extensive work with the AIS and NSW squad, makes her the standout person to fill this role.
"As a team we are looking to build on our World Series performances and continue in our preparations for the Commonwealth Games, World Cup Sevens and subsequent Olympics, which Emilee will now contribute towards.
"As a player, Emilee was truly one of a kind with her vision for the game guiding the side to countless victories. Emilee is a school teacher by trade and with her Olympic Gold medal experiences and ruthless drive to win will help take the program to the next level and continue to Innovate, Inspire and Include the next generation,” Walsh said
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos said: “The appointment of Emilee as the assistant coach sees her bring a tremendous amount of experience as a former player who understands and what is required to deliver success on the field as both a leader and player.
“We are looking to benefit from this, and her experience in the NSW Development Academy and the AIS Elevate Coach program.
“Following the extensive review of our sevens programmes post the Tokyo Olympics, we identified areas where we needed improvement, and our revitalised drive to consistently produce winning performances will be enhanced by Emilee's appointment.
“I believe Emilee's addition to Tim's coaching staff will see them complement each other on a number of fronts and contribute towards the ongoing success we seek from our programs.
“I have full confidence in Emilee and know she will make an immediate impact. As a business, we are delighted to have assisted her progression from playing into coaching, and I’d like to congratulate Emilee on her appointment,” Marinos said.