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IRB happy with Olympics sevens

The International Rugby Board are content for the sport's Olympics debut to be contested by sevens specialists rather than household names.

Crossover between the sevens circuit and full Test rugby is non-existent now due to the demands of both formats of the game. The presence of global stars such as England's Chris Ashton over little-known players on the sevens circuit would give the sport a far bigger profile at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Mike Miller, the IRB's chief executive, accepts coaches will face difficult decisions over selection but insists sevens will be a success at the Olympics, and said: "It would be very difficult for teams to pick their better-known players. You'll have people who play sevens on a regular basis in the world series. They are professional sevens players."

He added: "If you have a good team, a settled team that knows each other, but the XV guys suddenly think 'there's an Olympic medal available here, we want this', the coach has a decision to make.

"Does he break up the team and bring someone in who may disrupt things, thinking 'he's a big name, can I turn him down'?

"It's very difficult and I wouldn't like to be a sevens coach, especially in the year before the Olympics.

"We understand that the appeal of the players is important, but if you're a coach you don't care about appeal. All you care about is keeping your job.

"We need to build up stars in sevens, which we will do over the next couple of years.

"We will not tell teams who to pick, it's up to them to decide.

"The fans who are new to rugby aren't going to know who Dan Carter or anyone else is anyway. Instead, they'll watch the sport and judge it by itself."


From Belfast Telegraph