Rugby

Funding boost ensures Team GB will compete in Tokyo 2020 sevens

English, Scottish and Welsh rugby unions link up with National Lottery to finance programme hit by COVID-enforced cuts.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Great Britain will send men's and women's rugby sevens teams to Tokyo 2020 after all.

In September, squad members including Tom Mitchell told Olympic Channel they were having to self-fund their Olympic ambitions after England's governing body, the Rugby Football Union (RFU), scrapped sevens player and staff contracts as part of COVID-enforced restructuring.

In order to raise the £2m pounds (US$2.6m) required to get both teams and support staff to the Games in Japan, the players decided to seek private investment and organise crowdfunding.

But on Tuesday (22 December), the RFU announced that they and the Scottish and Welsh Rugby Unions had made an "innovative commercial partnership" with the National Lottery.

This will enable both teams to compete in the World Sevens Series and then next July in Tokyo.

The men took silver at Rio 2016, going down to Fiji in the final, while the women were denied bronze by Canada.

Charlie Hayter will be the Team Leader and an assistant coach for the men's and women's programmes with Scott Forrest staying on as head coach of the women's team.

Former England sevens and USA sevens assistant coach Tony Roques will be the men's head coach with Rio Olympian James Rodwell, the most capped sevens player in history, assisting both the men's and women's setups.

Hayter said, "I’m delighted with the coaching team that we have in place, which has an exciting blend of skills, experience and personalities.

"The opportunity we have to inspire Great Britain with rugby 7s on the global stage is one we all look forward to being a part of."

Tom Mitchell: Seven reasons you should be watching Rugby Sevens

Team GB's silver medal winning captain Tom Mitchell tells us the seven best...