Rugby has a fantastic opportunity to make it’s mark in the world’s biggest sporting event as it returns to the schedule for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The inclusion of rugby in the Olympics has opened up a debate as to whether Team GB will include players based just from the qualifying nation (likely England) or from across the British Isles. The other debate is as to whether the team includes stars from the XV-a-side game or to stick with the sevens specialist who qualified in the first place.
For me the Olympics offers too good of an opportunity for rugby to miss, and for that reason I hope they include the games biggest names to ensure the sport receives maximum exposure. To this end I thought it might be interesting to look what I believe would be the ultimate Team GB sevens squad for the Rio Olympics, so here’s my team of 12;
*I’ve excluded players from Northern Ireland as they may opt to turn out for team Ireland in line with their XV-a-side commitments
1. Tom Croft (Prop)
If Croft can get himself fit again after another injury set back his deceptive pace would make him an ideal option for playing sevens.
2. Justin Tipuric (Hooker)
Tipuric is one of those players who seems naturally suited to sevens, pace, power and an engine that keeps on going he would be turning over the ball at every opportunity.
3. Dave Denton (Prop)
Another British back rower with an incredible engine and impressive pace, Denton would provide a powerful ball carrying option to take the ball to the opposition.
4. Danny Care (Scrum Half)
Care has become one of the most electric scrum halves in the northern hemisphere using his impressive pace to keep the opposition on their toes with quick tap penalties.
5. Stuart Hogg (Fly Half)
Hogg may not normally play fly half but he has all the key attributes to be effective in the role, he also has pace to burn which makes him a danger from anywhere on the field.
6. George North (Centre)
North has already proved he has what it takes to perform in the centres and could have a similar impact on the game as Jonah Lomu did.
7. Christian Wade (Full Back)
Wade is one of the most exciting players in Britain at the moment and uses his pace to find holes in the opposition defence even in the tightest of quarters.
8. Richie Vernon (Bench)
Vernon has plenty of experience on the sevens circuit as it is and seems ideally suited for slotting into either the front row or centres as needed.
9. Cory Allen (Bench)
Allen is another Welsh player who combines power with pace and could be a real menace coming off the bench carrying the ball up to the gain line.
10. Danny Cipriani (Bench)
Cipriani has finally come back to form over the last 12 months and would be a great addition to the sevens team with fantastic distribution and a surprising turn of pace.
11. Alex Cuthbert (Bench)
A near like-for-like replacement for North, Cuthbert’s pace and power seems ideally suited to the sevens circuit where he could slot into a number of positions.
12. Tim Visser (Bench)
Visser seems to have a nose for the try-line like nobody else, this finishing ability combined with his pace could see him make a devastating impact on the sevens game.
Let us know in the comments section below who you would select in Team GB’s sevens squad for the 2016 Olympics in Rio…