The British Olympic Association has today announced the names of the 24 women who will compete in rugby sevens at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
It will be the first time in 108 years that Team GB has had representation in rugby at Olympic level and a first for the seven-a-side format.
Competition takes place over six days with the women competing first from August 6-8 at the Deodoro Stadium in a pool which includes hosts Brazil, Japan and Canada.
Emily Scarratt will captain the women’s squad which features a number of experienced names from England’s 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup winning side and the squad who have competed in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series last season as professional athletes.
The women’s squad, who have been training full time as a wider GB group since October last year, have played in invitational and training tournaments around the globe this season alongside England’s exploits on the circuit, in which they won the Langford event.
With GB Sevens unable to compete in the World Series, the wider training squad of 27 players gathered at the end of May for a six-week intensive training period involving a programme of four international competitions.
Team GB Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “It’s great to welcome rugby back into the Olympic family and announce our first squad of players in the sport for more than a century.
“These players have incredible pedigree in the sport and bringing them together to form the first ever Team GB sevens squads is very special and each of these 24 will now forever be a part of British Olympic history.
“Today’s announcement also means our team for Rio 2016 is complete and, after four years of hard work, we now have a strong squad of athletes ready to do their country proud at Rio 2016, our largest British Olympic Team for over a quarter of a century.
“I also genuinely believe this is our most talented ever team and to qualify in 23 out of the 28 sports is a fantastic achievement. For the athletes the Olympic Games represent a lifetime of dedication in the pursuit of excellence and I wish them all the best over the comings weeks. Let’s bring home a new generation of heroes to inspire the nation.”
Team GB Head Coach (Women) Simon Middleton said: “This is a hugely exciting moment for women’s rugby with sevens making its debut at the Olympic Games and we believe we have selected the best possible group of players to achieve success in Rio.
“The World Series this season proved how competitive the women’s rugby sevens circuit is and we’re very much looking forward to competing against the very best as a Team GB squad.
“The strength and depth of the wider training squad has not made the final selection easy. The players have been together since October and have trained so hard and really pushed the standards up of this group. I would like to thank the players who didn’t make the final squad for their fantastic contribution and putting us in the best possible place to play in Rio.”
Captain Emily Scarratt added: “To wear the GB shirt and compete in the Olympics is a childhood dream that we are now, as a team, turning into reality.
“As a squad, we are looking forward to being among the first athletes to play rugby sevens on the world’s biggest sporting stage. I am immensely proud to be representing Great Britain and introducing women’s rugby to new audiences.”
The selected athletes are:
Claire Allan (England Sevens)
Abbie Brown (England Sevens)
Heather Fisher (England Sevens)
Natasha Hunt (England Sevens)
Jasmine Joyce (Wales Sevens)
Katy McLean (England Sevens)
Alice Richardson (England Sevens)
Emily Scarratt (England Sevens)
Emily Scott (England Sevens)
Danielle Waterman (England Sevens)
Joanne Watmore (England Sevens)
Amy Wilson-Hardy (England Sevens)
Megan Jones (England Sevens)
Kay Wilson (England Sevens)
Simon Middleton (Head Coach)
Richie Pugh (Assistant Coach)
Nicky Ponsford (Team Leader)
Zoe Eaton (Team Manager)
Paul McGinley (Physiotherapist)
Dave Gardner (Video Analyst)
Dr Jo Larkin (Doctor)
Celia Gillbe (Physiotherapist)
Katie James (S&C Coach)
Report courtesy of England Rugby