GREAT BRITAIN’S women’s rugby team are on a ‘smash and grab stay in Tokyo’. And a world cup winning star, England’s Alex Matthews, won’t even be staying long enough to celebrate her birthday which occurs mid-Games.
Furthermore, GB women sevens they won’t take part in either the opening or closing ceremonies as they try to go better than the fourth they came in Rio 2016 sevens.
Back row forward Alex Matthews, who won 2018 Commonwealth bronze with England at sevens, says the team have been told that taking part in the Olympic ceremonies is not possible.
The women’s team are not staying at the Athletes Village for the whole of the first week of the Games and are outside central Tokyo at the holding camp, which is close to the Rugby Sevens venue.
Their first fixtures begin on 29th July, at 11am and 6pm in Tokyo. Matthews says; ‘We fly back home on August 2nd. So I won’t have my 28th birthday (August 3rd) at an Olympics.
It also means the women’s rugby team will not even be at a closing ceremony.’
By contrast the GB men’s team begin matches on 26th and will stay in the Olympic Village, and so they are potentially free to experience the opening of the Games.
Matthews, who also won the 15’s world cup with England in 2014, says; ‘We are going there to win a medal, though Fiji, NZ, USA will all be dangerous’. ‘I am excited, nervous, all sorts of emotions because friends and England team mates like Lydia Thompson have not made the squad.’
She and her team spent last week ‘in greenhouse condition and 80 per cent humidity in Loughborough’, to prepare. Asked about no crowds she says; ‘Once I am on the pitch I don’t pay attention to crowds anyway. You’ve got to do what is safest for everyone’.
Women’s reserve: Lisa Thomson
Men’s reserve: Tom Bowen