The Three governing organisations decided to “align with their Olympic participation status and qualification procedure” jointly.
- The inaugural men’s event for the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will take place in Hong Kong on November 4-6 of this year.
The combined men’s and women’s Great Britain sevens teams will be formed by England, Wales, and Scotland beginning with the 2023 season, which will start in Hong Kong in November.
The RFU, Scottish Rugby, and the WRU, the three organisations’ controlling bodies, decided to enter the HSBC World Sevens Series as GB Sevens.
On Wednesday, World Rugby praised the choice, noting that it “matched with their Olympic participation status and qualification track.”\
Conor O’Shea, the RFU director of performance, said, “This is a pivotal day for sevens; it is the correct path forward, providing team GB a real opportunity to go to the Olympic Games with the right preparation.”
With an eye toward Paris 2024 and beyond, “We will be working hard now to finalise the infrastructure to support GB so we are ready to start the 22/23 World Sevens Series with a bang.”
In 2023, there will be 11 rounds for men and 7 rounds for women in the Series. The men’s Series final will take place in London one week after the women’s Series concludes in Toulouse on May 12-14.
In their words, World Rugby also said, “We look forward to inviting England, Scotland, and Wales teams to compete at the Commonwealth Games at Coventry Stadium on July 29-31 and Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town on September 9-11.
According to the statement, talks were ongoing with each country “with regard to additional playing opportunities for the England, Scotland, and Wales teams.”
Rugby sevens was played in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020 by England, Wales, and Scotland as Team GB.
In order to prepare for the Tokyo Summer Games, which were postponed a year due to pandemic restrictions in Japan, Great Britain played in the 2021 Sevens Series.
In a statement released on its own on Wednesday, Scottish Rugby stated that despite the “mandate from World Rugby for Olympic qualification,” it “remains dedicated to its own sevens plan moving forward.”
Jim Mallinder, the director of high performance for Scottish Rugby, said, “We are acutely aware of Scotland’s legacy and enthusiasm for sevens rugby.” As a result, we continue to be wholly dedicated to a Scotland Sevens programme that will help our players and coaches grow.
Scottish players, both men and women, will have a rare opportunity to represent and compete on the biggest global platform through the World Series and Olympic Games as a result of the switch to a GB Sevens team in the World Series.
It’s an exciting development, and we want to get fully involved.
In order to “grow players and coaches and make sure there is a pipeline of potential culminating in the ability to challenge for GB selection and ultimately compete at an Olympics,” WRU performance director Nigel Walker stated the organisation would retain male and female sevens programmes in Wales.
A total of 14 men’s teams, including Great Britain, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, South Africa, Spain, and the USA, have committed to the 2023 Series.
The winner of the World Rugby Challenger Series, which takes place in Chile from August 12–14, will join them, and an additional team will be invited for each round of the Series, bringing the total number of teams participating in each tournament to 16.
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, France, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, and the United States are among the ten women’s teams who have already committed to the 2023 Series.
There will be a total of 12 teams at each competition thanks to the addition of the World Rugby Challenger Series 2022 champion and an invitational team for each round of the Series.