Britain names sevens training squads ahead of Tokyo Games

FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Rugby - Preliminary - Men's Pool C Britain v Kenya - Deodoro Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. Dan Norton (GBR) of Britain runs in for a try. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianch

(Reuters) - Britain on Friday named their men's and women's rugby sevens training squads as they gear up for this year's Tokyo Olympics.

English rugby's governing body, the RFU, had ditched its sevens programme in August due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but the government in December arranged a funding package in partnership with the National Lottery to ensure the teams could compete in Tokyo this year.

Tony Roques' 21-member men's squad includes all-time leading try scorer in sevens Dan Norton, and has five players that won silver at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The 19-strong women's team coached by Scott Forrest features four players from Rio 2016 including Wales' Jasmine Joyce and England's Abbie Brown, Heather Fisher and Amy Wilson Hardy.

The sevens teams will operate a banded pay structure which will give equal opportunities across the men's and women's programmes to be financially rewarded at the same level.

Training camps will begin in March ahead of the Olympic warm-up competitions.

"Naming the two squads is a significant milestone for the GB7s programme," team leader Charlie Hayter said.

"I would like to thank the clubs for their support in allowing players to follow their short-term ambitions of competing at an Olympic Games.

"We're excited to get players and staff on the ground in March as we take our next steps as a programme."

Men's squad

Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Richard de Carpentier, Alec Coombes, Alex Davis, Tom Emery, Jamie Farndale, Robbie Fergusson, Ben Harris, Paddy Kelly, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Ross McCann, Max McFarland, Tom Mitchell, Luke Morgan, Will Muir, Dan Norton, Luke Treharne, Ethan Waddleton, Morgan Williams.

Women's squad

Holly Aitchison, Abbie Brown, Abi Burton, Heather Fisher, Deborah Fleming, Megan Gaffney, Hannah Jones, Megan Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Rhona Lloyd, Alex Matthews, Helen Nelson, Celia Quansah, Chloe Rollie, Helena Rowland, Hannah Smith, Lisa Thomson, Emma Uren, Amy Wilson Hardy

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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