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Great Britain Sevens look at XV-a-side players to strengthen Olympics challenge

Published 08/04/2016

Danny Cipriani could be in the Great Britain sevens team for the Olympics
Danny Cipriani could be in the Great Britain sevens team for the Olympics

Great Britain Sevens have confirmed they will look at players from XV-a-side to strengthen their challenge at this summer's Olympics.

Simon Amor, the men's head coach, is to name a wider training group in early May before the final 12 are announced in mid-July with two squads entered into a series of tournaments during June and July to aid selection.

The Rugby Football Union has faced strong criticism for the lack of preparation for the Rio Games while other nations have negotiated the release of star names from XV-a-side including Sonny Bill Williams, Quade Cooper and Bryan Habana.

England's summer tour to Australia and the Saxons' visit to South Africa narrow the options, while Wales, Scotland and Ireland - whose players from Northern Ireland are eligible - also travel overseas in June.

"Being able to enter two GB teams in all competitions allows us to test different combinations and confirm which XV-a-side players can make the physical, mental and game-understanding transition," Amor said.

"By the time we have played at our home tournament in Exeter on July 9 and 10, we will have a good understanding of which players are really putting their hands up.

"I've been looking closely both at sevens specialists from across the three unions and a number of XV-a-side players throughout the season and know the balance we need in the squad.

"Previous international sevens experience is important for the players coming in and certain positions and skill sets allow them to blend better with current sevens players."

It has hard to envisage any of Eddie Jones' England squad being released for sevens duty in Rio with the tour to Australia taking priority, while clubs will be reluctant to release players during pre-season.

However, fringe internationals such as Danny Cipriani and Christian Wade could be involved if an agreement between union and clubs can be reached.

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