WRU welcome ‘exciting’ news Wales to compete as Team GB in rugby sevens World Series but some fans aren’t happy
Wales’ men and women teams will have to compete as part of Team GB as part of rugby sevens’ World Series after a mandate by World Rugby.
The WRU said the move was “an exciting opportunity” but it received a backlash from fans online who described it as a “horrific decision”.
The union said the move had been ratified and mandated by World Rugby so that the same team could compete at the Olympic games.
They added that the move was “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”.
The decision however drew a heated reaction on social media with one fan, Owain Barlow, describing it as a “disgraceful decision”
“We’re Welsh not anything else, to disrespect the culture of Welsh rugby like this is a terrible decision,” he said.
Another, Gareth Williams, described it as “outrageous” and Dafydd Roberts said it was a “horrific decision”.
Plaid Cymru Councillor Rhys Mills added: “Decisions like this prove that you’re out of touch, also 7s has always been a decent pathway for elite players. This is a horrible decision.”
‘Right way forward’
The World Series will kick 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.
RFU Performance Director Conor O’Shea said: “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.
“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.”
WRU Performance Director Nigel Walker said, “This is a real opportunity for Welsh players to reach an Olympic Games.
“We will maintain male and female sevens programmes in Wales to develop players and coaches and make sure there is a pipeline of talent culminating in the opportunity to push for GB selection and ultimately compete at an Olympics.”
Scottish Rugby’s Director of High Performance, Jim Mallinder said: “We are acutely aware of Scotland’s heritage and passion for sevens rugby. As such we remain fully committed to a Scotland 7s programme to develop our players and coaches.
“The move to a GB Sevens team on the World Series will give Scottish players, both men and women, a unique opportunity to represent and compete on the largest global stage through the World Series and Olympic Games.
“It is an exciting development and one we intend to play a full part in.”
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