Welsh rugby fans hit out at news of Team GB World Rugby 7s side
The announcement that a Team GB men’s and women’s side will be competing in the HSBC World Rugby 7s series for the first time has provoked anger amongst Welsh rugby fans.
The HSBC Canada Sevens to be played in Vancouver and Edmonton next month will include a Team GB side in the 12 team men’s tournament that will include Canada, USA, South Africa, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Japan, Chile, Germany and another team to be announced.
In addition, there will be a four-team women’s tournament featuring Canada, USA, Great Britain and France
It will be the first time that a men’s or women’s Great Britain team has competed outside of the Olympics in rugby sevens.
Announcing details of the tournament on their Canada Sevens website, a statement read: “Following their bronze medal game appearance in Tokyo, England, Scotland and Wales will continue to compete as Team GB. These will be their first appearances in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.”
However, the announcement has caused anger among some Welsh rugby supporters who have concerns over the future of the Wales national side.
Following the announcement of the Canada Sevens tournament a petition was last night launched urging that Wales, Scotland and England be kept as separate teams within the HSBC 7s tour.
The petition, set up by a user named RA.D on the Change.org website read: “Wales, Scotland and England are separate entities in sport outside of the Olympics and B&I Lions.
“Each country has a long history and tradition within rugby union and to dispense of these traditions is an insult to the fans and players.
“There is a great rivalry between the teams and the fans that makes for a great spectacle during a tournament. Losing the individual teams will lose that spectacle and lose supporters to the game.
“It is likely that many fans would not support a combined Team GB on the 7s tour as the likelihood of all three nations being equally represented is very small.
“I’m calling on the fans from all three countries to come together to keep our individual teams so the banter can continue going forward.
“The rugby family does not need to be getting smaller by the loss of these individual teams on the tour.”
The Rugby Football Union (RFU), Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) and Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) last year confirmed that they had obtained funding to field GB Sevens teams for the 2021 season leading up to and beyond the Olympics.
The deal was made possible because of a commercial partnership with The National Lottery promotional fund.
The HSBC Canada Sevens are two-day rugby sevens tournaments. In 2021, the Canada Sevens will be the first and second stops in a six-stop world tour as part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The first event will be hosted at BC Place in Vancouver, BC on September 18-19 with the second following on September 25-26 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on travel restrictions worldwide, some men’s national teams were unable to accept their invitations to compete in Canada.
The tournament stadiums will also operate at fifty percent capacity due to the pandemic.
The news of Team GB competing in the world rugby 7s tournament comes as reports circulate that a Women’s British and Irish Lions rugby team is close to being launched.
According to a story in today’s Daily Telegraph, British & Irish Lions officials insist it is just a matter of time before a female team is launched with a feasibility study set to deliver its results by the end of the year.