One of the main victims of the cuts that rugby unions have had to make as a result of the financial pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic has been England 7s, which saw its funding ended by the Rugby Football Union in August. 

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With a year to go until the rearranged 2021 Tokyo Olympics, this was one of many unfortunate choices that the RFU had to make, as they face losses of over £100million. 

Players have dispersed since then, going separate ways, but they have now banded together to seek to rebuild their programme. 

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Ireland 7s player and Love Island contestant Greg O’Shea guests on All Access, the RugbyPass interview series hosted by Jim Hamilton

No names have been mentioned thus far, as this plan is clearly in its embryonic stage, but the newly formed England 7s team shared this message on Twitter:

“It’s been a turbulent ride. Last summer we were on cloud nine after our men’s and women’s teams qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Last month, however, our contracts were terminated due to major funding cuts, meaning the end of the England 7s programme as we know it. 

“So what now? As players, we want to take matters into our own hands and re-build our programme. Faced with redundancy, some of us signed for new clubs, a few of us have transitioned into coaching roles, while others have entered the working world to earn a living. Each players’ journey is unique but all of us have our sights set on the same goal – to compete on the Olympic stage. 

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“We push ourselves to the limit every day, so why stop now?  The aftermath of Covid-19 has hit the world of professional sport hard and we’re up against multiple challenges in our mission to succeed. We know it’s not going to be easy, but we can’t sit back and let the opportunity pass us by. We are England 7s, we’re relentless and we love what we do.”

England 7s were not the only ones to suffer in recent months, as the Welsh Rugby Union suspended the Wales Sevens team for the foreseeable future, while there have been pay cuts across Scottish rugby. 

In light of these changes, the future of the Britain 7s sevens team ahead of the Olympics has barely been discussed as it simply has not been the priority, but the England team have set their sights on going to Tokyo.

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