World Rugby boss Brett Gosper has revealed that he would be open to the possibility of Great Britain fielding teams in the world sevens series.
Currently England, Wales and Scotland play against each other on the men’s circuit but came together to form a GB team for this month’s Rio Olympics. The move paid off as they earned silver, losing 43-7 to Fiji in the final and surprisingly beating heavyweights such as New Zealand and South Africa on the way.
The GB Women’s team, meanwhile, finished in fourth place, losing to Canada 33-10 in the Bronze medal match having beaten Brazil, Japan and Fiji as Australia were crowned champions.
In an interview with BBC Wales, the Australian had this to say:
“If they really are taking the Olympics seriously, it would be normal that they look at it.
“And we would welcome either alternative [playing as separate nations or combining as GB] in terms of it fitting into the [world series] programme.
“It’s up to the host nations of those countries to work out if it’s much better for them to combine their resources and present a GB side.”
The men’s squad was mostly made up of English players such as sevens stars Dan Norton, Dan Bibby, Jason Rodwell along with Welshmen James Davies and Sam Cross as well as Scotsmen Mark Bennett to give the squad a celtic flavour.
While the women’s squad included a number of England’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad such as skipper Emily Scarratt, Claire Allen and Heather Fisher, Welsh student Jasmine Joyce was the only non-English player in the squad.
A hit at Rio 2016, sevens will again be included in Tokyo 2020 but its Olympic future after that is unsure.
There are currently five host venues and 11 core teams on the women’s World circuit and growing the women’s game before Tokyo 2020 is high on Gosper’s agenda,
“We want more destinations; a sixth destination will be introduced soon,” the Australian confirmed.
“We’d like some of those competitions to be happening when the men’s competitions are on which gives us higher visibility. We’re looking at all these things to ensure we can create that competition.”
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena