Source: World Rugby

Forrest announces Team GB Sevens Olympic training squad

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Scott Forrest, the Team GB Sevens Coach, has announced a preliminary training squad of 24 to compete for the 13 places available in the GB Olympic squad for Tokyo:

Holly Aitchison (England)
Keira Bevan (Wales)
Abbie Brown (England)
Abi Burton (England)
Heather Fisher (England)
Deborah Fleming (England)
Megan Gaffney (Scotland)
Sydney Gregson (England)
Hannah Jones (Wales)
Meg Jones (England)
Jasmine Joyce (Wales)
Ellie Kildunne (England)
Rhona Lloyd (Scotland)
Alex Matthews (England)
Helen Nelson (Scotland)
Jodie Ounsley (England)
Celia Quansah (England)
Chloe Rollie (Scotland)
Helena Rowland (England)
Hannah Smith (Scotland)
Lisa Thomson (Scotland)
Emma Uren (England)
Beth Wilcock (England)
Amy Wilson Hardy (England)

It contains 15 English players, 6 Scots and 3 Welsh.

Forrest, in charge of the Scottish team, has spent time with the two other national coaches, Charlie Hayter (England) and Ollie Philips (Wales) to make his final choices. The entire England squad is included.

A GB Sevens team is rather like a British and Irish Lions touring side, a tricky combination of different national unions – here three rather than four. The training squad will meet for three initial sessions, one in each of the three countries involved (Scotland in February, Wales and England in April). No other competing nation faces this awkward building process.

It will be fascinating to see the make-up of the final selection. The Red Roses have an obvious advantage in their professional status, though their results have not shown the hoped-for advance towards a position where they can reasonably expect to see off vaunted opposition such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. They currently rank eighth in the world.

This allows the nine Celtic players included to have reasonable hopes of selection. At Rio only Jasmine Joyce represented them, and Emily Scarratt’s team had the huge disappointment of finishing fourth. Since then the England group has undergone repeated changes, not least because so many players have opted to return to 15s, including the skipper. No fewer than six of the players on duty in Round 3 of the Six Nations at Doncaster had represented the 7s squad.

As things stand at present, the RFU will get greater rewards for its generosity from the 15s side than its 7s squad. Let’s hope the injection of Celtic quality under a new Head Coach can raise standards to medal-winning levels.