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Simon Amor believes rugby sevens qualification for Tokyo 2020 will be difficult

Published 12/08/2016

Great Britain men's rugby sevens head coach Simon Amor believes the global game is soaring
Great Britain men's rugby sevens head coach Simon Amor believes the global game is soaring

Great Britain head coach Simon Amor believes that rugby sevens' soaring global standards will make qualification alone a tough assignment for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Amor's squad ended the men's tournament at Deodoro Stadium with a silver medal.

Although their competition ended with a crushing 43-7 defeat in the final against rampant Fiji, Britain still made a mark by beating sevens powerhouses like New Zealand and South Africa during their six-match campaign.

The tournament delivered some spectacular moments - Japan's defeat of New Zealand being a prime example - and Amor is enthused about prospects for sevens.

"I think World Rugby has done an amazing job growing the game," he said.

"You see the level of competition - the women's game is going through the roof, the developing rugby nations are getting better and better, and in four years' time you are going to see an unbelievable tournament.

"It is going to be difficult to qualify for 2020, let alone get a medal. That is the direction it is going in."

Amor paid tribute to his players, who only came together as a group barely three months before Rio, but still finished on the medal podium.

" I certainly think we maximised every opportunity," he added.

"We made the best of the challenges we faced. We knew what they were, and the ability of that team to adapt into the Olympics was second to none.

"It is important everyone has a bit of time off now and switches off, and then we start again on the World Series when I get back into the office on Monday with my England hat back on.

"From a Team GB head coach perspective, we were very much about embracing the whole Olympics, embracing Team GB and going out there to perform in what we think is one of the best sports in the world, and trying to show people what is good about it so it will inspire people and they take up the game."

For Amor's opposite number in the final - former England Sevens head coach Ben Ryan - it was a strange experience, given his role in developing many of the Great Britain squad.

Ryan said: " I find it quite awkward coaching against them because I know a lot of them.

"I knew Dan Norton when he was 16. Tom Mitchell, the captain, I watched him play in Bristol University Freshers' Week, Dan Bibby was playing for Cardiff Met, Marcus Watson I picked up when he was released by London Irish academy. James Rodwell I coached for England counties.

"Tom has never played a game of XVs in his life, and he is an absolute genius on the sevens field. He could be a terrific 12 at international and Premiership level, given the chance in XVs."

Reflecting on his departure from the Rugby Football Union in 2013, Ryan added: " There is no animosity involved. The guys I had head to heads with are no longer at the RFU.

"I had seven years with England, and my last tournament was a World Cup final. We got battered by New Zealand.

"I just got a bit disillusioned and flat, and with a few things that were going on at the RFU.

"I came to Fiji and just got back to basics again and stripped away all the other stuff that sometimes comes with these programmes - too many people, too many layers.

"We have simple leadership and a very simple framework of what we do. We set simple standards. Everyone knows what is going on. There is no politics around the players or management. It works."

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