Representatives from England, Wales and Scotland will come together to form a British Women’s Sevens squad for two invitational tournaments as part of preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
A squad of 12 players will fly to Las Vegas today (Monday 29 February) for the USA Sevens Invitational Tournament, which takes place 3-5 March, and then travel on to Canada for the Vancouver Rugby Festival, taking place 10-11 March.
Laurie Harries and Jasmine Joyce from Wales and Stephanie Johnston from Scotland, who joined England’s squad of 19 full-time professionals at the end of last year, will combine with nine England team mates for the tournaments.
Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “These competitions are an integral part of our prep for Rio and give us the chance to see the GB squad in action again, building on from the January training tournament in Souston when the playing combinations started to develop well.
“It is also another opportunity for individuals to stake their claim and earn a place within the Olympic squad. It is great to be able to bring a GB squad together in a competitive environment.”
Middleton added that he is looking to use the tournament to develop player experience within a major tournament setting after England disappointed with seventh place in the recent Sao Paulo leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
He said: “In terms of expectations we are again focusing on performance rather than outcomes. We want to see clear development in the cohesion of the squad and also the individual performance levels rising. Playing in front of the big crowds in the stadium in Las Vegas will be another learning experience for the players.”
GB squad for Las Vegas and Vancouver
Abbie Brown, Rachael Burford (captain), Heather Fisher (Las Vegas only), Laurie Harries, Stephanie Johnston, Jasmine Joyce, Alex Matthews, Fran Matthews, Katy Mclean, Emily Scott, Danielle Waterman, Kay Wilson, Amy Wilson Hardy (Vancouver only)