The RFU, Scottish Rugby and WRU confirm they will join together to form men’s and women’s Great Britain Sevens teams ahead of the 2022/23 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The move has been ratified and mandated by World Rugby, aligning the governing bodies’ future direction of sevens and connection to its Olympic status.
The mandating of Olympic teams from the 2023/24 season means all three Unions acknowledge the importance of transferring to GB from the forthcoming campaign (2022/23) to embrace this new era with GB as the representative team on the World Series moving forward.
Since rugby sevens’ introduction to the Olympic Games, both GB teams have performed strongly – the men secured silver in Rio and fourth in Tokyo while the women earned two fourth place finishes.
As such, this move is an exciting opportunity to progress the performance capabilities further with GB training and competing together consistently on the World Series, with GB as the representative team.
“A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to get to this stage and I would like to thank our colleagues at Scottish Rugby and Welsh Rugby Union along with Nigel Cass (competitions director at World Rugby) for their collaboration,” said RFU Performance Director, Conor O’Shea.
“This is a seminal day for sevens, it is the right way forward, giving Team GB a real opportunity to go to the Olympic games with the right preparation, to compete on a level playing field with other sevens programmes and most importantly enables us all to give certainty to staff and players as to the future of the programme.
“We will be working hard now to finalise the structures to support GB so we are ready to start the 22/23 World Sevens Series with a bang, moving towards Paris 2024 and beyond.”
Each Union will still be able to utilise sevens as an important part of player and coach development in their bespoke ways, retaining their Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup status, depending on qualification.
The respective unions and World Rugby are in discussions regarding further playing opportunities for the England, Scotland and Wales teams.
Work is underway and will continue over the coming months to confirm programme details including leads, coaches and playing squads ahead of the World Series kicking off in Hong Kong for the men (4-6 November 2022) and Dubai (2-3 December 2022) for the women, which will be the teams’ maiden tournaments.