Source: Mike Lee KLC Fotos

GB Sevens

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Not for the first time, the GB Sevens squad is building anew.

Some background

The Sevens programme has been constantly hamstrung by the two conflicting strands of qualification: Only a GB squad will do for the Olympics (cue in 2024); England, Scotland and Wales are welcome entries at the Commonwealth Games.

The need for a combined GB squad involves complex dealings between three unions, the RFU, SRU and WRU.

Since Rio 2016 when Team GB first took flight one recurrent feature has been that the staffing has changed nearly as often as the playing squad. There has been little sense of managed development. At each turn the talk is of a new beginning, and so it is now.

Nick Wakley (WRU) was appointed Team GB’s head coach on 24 October 2022.

SRU 7s head coach Ciaran Beattie became the new Programme Lead for the GB men’s and women’s teams ahead of the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Dubai, here we come!

In the approach to Dubai all the talk was of a great future beckoning. ‘A World of Opportunity’, ‘Pushing boundaries”, “The future of this team is absolutely massive”, ‘A new start’
were some of the views expressed by coach and captains.

An initial core squad was also announced way back in October:

Ellie Boatman, Abbie Brown, Heather Cowell, Megan Jones, Alicia Maude, Isla Norman-Bell, Celia Quansah, Jade Shekells, Emma Uren – all England qualified.

The squad that was picked for the opening 2022-23 round in Dubai added Shona Campbell (Scotland), Jasmine Joyce and Kayleigh Powell (both Wales) and the highly experienced Amy Wilson Hardy.

Once again Brown and Jones were named co-captains.

In the event Abby Dow joined the squad, another surprise addition. She becomes one more top 15s player to be invited across to play 7s, like Heather Cowell and Jade Shekels.
Few signs here of retaining the RFU policy of a strict separation of the two formats. But the players who had been playing 15s will presumably miss the rest of the current Prem 15s season. Or will they? Jaz Joyce voiced the conflicts when she said she was gutted to be leaving the Welsh 15s squad.

GB’s first outing of the 2023 World Series saw them finish eighth.


New Zealand 19 GB 12
France 26 GB 21
GB 38 Brazil 7
Quarter-final NZ 22 GB 5
5th semi-final 1 GB 12 Ireland 21
7th place final GB 10 Spain 14

That is: 1 win and 5 losses.