Great Britain announced their squad for Rio this morning. As a result we know the names of all 144 women from all of the 12 countries who will compete in the first Olympic rugby tournament for 92 years. For Great Britain the wait has been even longer – some 108 years.
Emily Scarratt will captain the women’s squad which features 11 English players and one Welsh, as well as two reserves, who are also both English. Players spent last weekend training in France with the French squad, which was announced last week, before final decisions were made.
Coach Simon Middleton said: “This is a hugely exciting moment for women’s rugby with sevens making its debut at the Olympic Games and we believe we have selected the best possible group of players to achieve success in Rio. The World Series this season proved how competitive the women’s rugby sevens circuit is and we’re very much looking forward to competing against the very best as a Team GB squad.
“The strength and depth of the wider training squad has not made the final selection easy. The players have been together since October and have trained so hard and really pushed the standards up of this group. I would like to thank the players who didn’t make the final squad for their fantastic contribution and putting us in the best possible place to play in Rio.”
Captain Emily Scarratt added: “To wear the GB shirt and compete in the Olympics is a childhood dream that we are now, as a team, turning into reality. As a squad, we are looking forward to being among the first athletes to play rugby sevens on the world’s biggest sporting stage. I am immensely proud to be representing Great Britain and introducing women’s rugby to new audiences.”
This will not be the first time Emily will have lead a Great Britain team in a major world tournament. Four years ago she led Great Britain students to the World University Championship (right) with a team that also included Emily Scott.
Overall the squad includes 10 of the 12 players from the Great Britain Lions team that played in the European Championships first leg in Kazan last month, where they finished third after losing to Russia in the semi-final. The only changes are inclusion of Emily Scarratt (who was recovering from injury) and Emily Scott, who played in Kazan with the Great Britain Royals team and was one of the tournament’s top point scorers. Jasmine Joyce, the only non-Englishwoman in the party, was also one of that tournament’s top try scorers.
Great Britain will also be sending the tournament’s largest management team, with nine men and women supporting the squad.
Great Britain squad: Claire Allan (England); Abbie Brown (England); Heather Fisher (England); Natasha Hunt (England); Jasmine Joyce (Wales); Katy McLean (England); Alice Richardson (England); Emily Scarratt (England); Emily Scott (England); Danielle Waterman (England); Joanne Watmore (England); Amy Wilson-Hardy (England)
Travelling reserves: Megan Jones (England); Kay Wilson (England)
Management: Simon Middleton (Head Coach); Richie Pugh (Assistant Coach); Nicky Ponsford (Team Leader); Zoe Eaton (Team Manager); Paul McGinley (Physiotherapist); Dave Gardner (Video Analyst); Dr Jo Larkin (Doctor); Celia Gillbe (Physiotherapist); Katie James (S&C Coach)