Some leading names in Rugby have welcomed the recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board to include Rugby Sevens and Golf into the Olympic Games. If the recommendation is accepted by the full IOC Congress when it meets in October, rugby would be part of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Some leading names in Rugby have welcomed the recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board to include Rugby Sevens and Golf into the Olympic Games.
If the recommendation is accepted by the full IOC Congress when it meets in October, rugby would be part of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Paul Treu coached the Springbok Sevens team to their first IRB Sevens World Series championship during the past 2008/09 season, and was obviously delighted with the news.
"This is a very significant day for rugby and as a former Sevens player and now coach, I want to thank the IRB for their dedication and commitment to spreading this exciting sport to all corners of the globe," said Treu.
"The important recommendation is further proof that Sevens has now truly established itself as a world sport.
"The prospect of Olympic participation and the possibility of a medal at the world's biggest sports gathering will have a profound influence on rugby players' careers.
"I am absolutely delighted and I am sure that the recommendation will now change the perception of Sevens Rugby as a minor sport, even amongst the traditional rugby playing countries."
Gordon Tietjens, who has guided New Zealand to three Commonwealth Games medals and a an IRB Sevens dominance, is thrilled at rugby's imminent step up to Olympic level and believes the stature needs to be matched by including our best players.
"It's great news and it would be a challenge that any rugby player would want to be involved in," he said.
"A lot will depend on the stance of the New Zealand Rugby Union ... what part of the year the Olympics are and how they clash with the All Blacks calendar. But I'd like to think that any and every player should be available.
"For the Commonwealth Games there have been clashes with the All Blacks and Super 14 calendars, but for the Olympics I've said that I'd like to think that all the very best players would be available.
"The Olympic dream is now a major possibility. How many players would seriously pass it up? Some of the current All Blacks love the game of sevens but never get a chance to play it but that could change now.
If rugby was included for 2016, England's players would have to join forces with Wales and Scotland in a Great Britain side.
"We realise that this is just the first step and the final decision rests with the IOC Committee," said Rob Andrew, Director of Elite Rugby in England.
"This is a massive boost for the sport, which will raise its profile, encourage more and more people to play and watch the game at all levels not only in England but worldwide."
Lee Beach was a World Cup winner with Wales last season and says representing a GB VII would be the highest pinnacle for a player in abbreviated code.
"I have represented Wales in sevens at the Commonwealth Games and now the Rugby World Cup but to represent Great Britain at the Olympics would be the stuff of dreams," Beach said.
"Playing for the British and Irish Lions is the top of the ladder for the 15-a-side game and the Olympics would be the pinnacle of the sevens game.
“We got our message across that we can add value to the Olympic programme,” he said. “We are already a huge success at multisports events, bring revenue, fill stadia with travelling fans and would give nations that don’t normally win medals the chance to. All that works for them.”
John O’Neill, Managing Director and CEO of Australian Rugby, is another one excited about the decision in October.
“This is wonderful news and a great day for the sport. Obviously the Executive Board’s recommendation still requires ratification but there is naturally great excitement for us surrounding this announcement.”
“There is a lot of cache attached to being part of the Olympic movement.”
“From a Rugby perspective, I trust we will have cause for major celebrations in October because offering our elite players the opportunity to also become Olympians would be unforgettable.”