Rugby-Britain's sevens teams to host Olympic warm-up event in May

FILE PHOTO: Britain Rugby Union - Team GB - Rio 2016 Rugby Sevens Team Announcement - Brazilian Embassy, London - 19/7/16 Team GB Rugby Sevens men's and women's team pose for a group photo in Trafalgar Square Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic

(Reuters) - Britain's men's and women's rugby sevens teams will host an Olympic preparation tournament later this month as they gear up for the Tokyo Games.

The tournament will take place behind closed doors at St George's Park between May 15-17.

Britain's men's team will be joined by the United States and Ireland, while the women's side will compete against France and Ireland.

"It's a great chance for sides to compete in the run up to Tokyo," team leader Charlie Hayter said on Friday. "For our squads to pull on a Great Britain shirt for the first time in a competitive tournament is a big step towards Tokyo."

English rugby's governing body, the Rugby Football Union, had ditched its sevens programme in August due to the impact of COVID-19 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.

Britain's men won silver at the Rio Olympics in 2016 while the women finished fourth.

The Tokyo Games, pushed back a year due to the pandemic, are scheduled to take place from July 23-Aug. 8.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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