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England welcome Rugby Sevens Olympics decision

09 October 2009

  • Rugby sevens is voted into the Olympics
  • Decision applauded by England’s top internationals

England's Ollie Phillips, IRB World Sevens Player of the Year, in action against Tunisia

Photo: Getty Images

England sevens players and RFU officials today welcomed the sport's inclusion in the 2016 Olympics.

An overwhelming vote (81 in favour, eight against) for inclusion by the International Olympic Committee members in Copenhagen means that the world's top men and women rugby players will have the opportunity to compete for an Olympic Gold medal in Rio de Janeiro.

England Sevens captain and IRB World Sevens Player of the Year Ollie Phillips was delighted with the news and said: "It's fabulous news and I was doing cartwheels round my flat.

“As someone who has been involved in Sevens for a number of years and seen how the World Sevens Series has grown, for it now to be an Olympic sport is amazing.

“It's the pinnacle of sport, to be an Olympian - I just hope that my legs will be up to it in 2016 when I'm 32."

England Women's Sevens player Maggie Alphonsi continued the theme and spoke of the close fit between rugby and the Olympics.

“For Sevens rugby to be part of the 2016 Olympics is fantastic,” she said.

“All the world's very best athletes want to compete in the Olympics, and for rugby players that isn't any different.

“The Olympics represents excellence and being the best that you can be. It is the world's greatest sporting stage, and one of the very few events that has the ability to touch every nation.

"Sevens rugby fits perfectly with the ethos of the Olympic Games. It's a competitive, skilful, an exciting game to watch and it has already shown it has the ability to reach out to new audiences across the world through the Rugby World Cup Sevens.”

Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union's Elite Rugby Director, applauded the news and said: "Sevens will be an invaluable addition to the Olympic Games. As proved in the Commonwealth Games, the IRB Sevens World Series and through its own Rugby World Cup, it is a thrilling spectacle that captivates the fans.

"The thought of joining with the other home unions to make a Team GB is very exciting and on behalf of the RFU and the Elite Rugby department I am delighted that sevens rugby for men and women has been included."