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The 'special' Paris return Harry Glover wants after a 'crazy series'

By Liam Heagney
Harry Glover in action for Great Britain (Photo by Martin Dokoupil/Getty Images)

Funny how it all works out. Harry Glover was one of the rugby players who paid a high price when the pandemic shut down the world. It was July 2020 when the RFU informed him that contracts for the England sevens programme were terminated and it left the 2018 Rugby World Cup 7s silver medal holder suddenly unemployed.

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Crossing the Channel has become de rigueur for English rugby in the last 12 months with so many big names taking up big-money offers to experience the delights of French club rugby.

Glover’s move, though, was made in very different circumstances but his emergency switch was ultimately worth its weight in gold.

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Jannes Kirsten speaks fondly about life at Exeter

Bulls forward Jannes Kirsten tells Liam Heagney about how much he enjoyed playing at Exeter Chiefs.

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Jannes Kirsten speaks fondly about life at Exeter

Bulls forward Jannes Kirsten tells Liam Heagney about how much he enjoyed playing at Exeter Chiefs.

He joined tier-two Carcassonne as a three-month medical joker and with all Pro D2 matches shown on TV, his impact there didn’t go unnoticed. Stade Francais wanted him in Paris and after going to the delayed Tokyo Olympics with Team GB in 2021, he enjoyed two fantastic seasons in the French capital.

Now the task is to ensure he plays there again in 15 weeks. It’s definitely not certain. Great Britain must come through the last-chance repechage in Monaco in mid-June if they are to book a late ticket to Paris 2024.

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However, while their inconsistent form on the reimagined HSBC SVNS circuit has left them facing being involved in the relegation play-offs in Madrid unless they thrive in Singapore next month, they have at times shown they really do have the potential to succeed.

Just last month they reached the final in Los Angeles, only losing out to an Antoine Dupont-inspired France. This was after 10th, ninth, 11th and seventh place finishes in Dubai, Cape Town, Perth and Vancouver.

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In Hong Kong, it was a return to squabbling over a minor placing, Britain winning the 11th-place play-off versus Canada 26-17 to leave them ninth in the overall standings, seven points behind the USA with one more leg to play before the Grand Final cut-off for Madrid.

What was Glover’s verdict on Hong Kong, a tournament where they ended with two points after the win over the Canadians rounded off a campaign that featured losses to title winners New Zealand, the USA, series leaders Argentina and fellow relegation battlers Samoa?

“We knew we only had one match on Sunday and to get the win is pretty big,” said Glover to RugbyPass before embarking on a lap around the Hong Kong Stadium touchline to salute the support they had received across the three days.

“We’re fighting for every point. As we know, the next tournament in Singapore is the one where we get ranked so that extra point (for beating Canada) could mean the world. We knew it would be really tough here.

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Tough, tough pool, but the series is crazy – anyone can beat anyone at the moment. We are always dogging it out with every team but it’s the fine margins. We just need to have a look back and see where we can improve.

“There is no place like Hong Kong. If this is the last tournament here (at the iconic Island stadium), it’s been really, really special. Every time we come back it’s just the coolest place.”

Competing as GB isn’t as easy if Glover was part of just an England team. “It’s three different countries coming together, location of training is always tough, we don’t have a huge amount of time together. But no excuses, we love what we do. When we get to play together it’s brilliant.”

Having enjoyed a lovely stint at XVs in France, what would it mean to Glover to book a return ticket to Paris for the Olympics at the end of a season that initially had some teething issues? “That would be really special, but we have got a big job to do in Monaco.

“Even when I was in Paris I could see all the stuff that was happening for the Olympics and it is going to be one hell of a party out there, so fingers crossed we will be there.

“It’s been good coming back to sevens. Definitely felt a bit of weight in the first few tournaments but hopefully that has shedded. But yeah, I have loved it. Sevens has a special place in my heart and yeah, absolutely loving being back on the series.”

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