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Team GB Sevens Squad Announced

Mark Bennett - pic © Al Ross
Mark Bennett - pic © Al Ross

The subset of Simon Amor’s Team GB Sevens training squad the “Royals” last weekend claimed back to back titles in the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series. They beat the other half of the squad, GB Lions, 26-14 in the Gdynia Sevens Cup final. Scotland’s Jamie Farndale, Scott Riddell and Joe Nayacavou all featured for the winning GB Royals side which you would hope put them high in contention for places in the final Olympic Sevens squad announced on Tuesday.

Despite the Lions looking perhaps the stronger when the teams were first announced, the Royals were also winners of last weekend’s Mitsubishi Motors Exeter Sevens and in the Exeter tournament had wins over Italy and fellow Olympians Spain, with Farndale a prominent scorer.

Here were the squads from that tournament as they stood ahead of the final cut today:


GB Royals
Tom Bowen
Alex Davis
Jamie Farndale
Alex Gray
Charlie Hayter
Warwick Lahmert
Ollie Lindsay-Hague
Ruaridh McConnochie
Joseva Nayacavou
Scott Riddell
James Rodwell
Luke Treharne

GB Lions
Mark Bennett
Phil Burgess
Cameron Cowell
Sam Cross
James Davies
Richard de Carpentier
Lee Jones
Gavin Lowe
Tom Mitchell (c)
Dan Norton
Mark Robertson
Morgan Williams

The final squad was announced this morning, and the mens team for Rio is as follows:

Team GB Men’s Squad for Rio Olympics

Mark Bennett, 23, Glasgow
Dan Bibby, 25, Putney
Phil Burgess, 28, Farnborough
Sam Cross, 23, Newport
Alex Davis, 23, Bristol
James Davies, 25, Carmarthen
Ollie Lindsay Hague, 25, London
Tom Mitchell, 27, Wandsworth
Dan Norton, 28, Bristol
James Rodwell, 31, Cotteridge
Mark Robertson, 31, Galashiels
Marcus Watson, 25, Weybridge

Travelling reserves:

Luke Treharne, 23, Llanelli
Ruaridh McConnochie, 24, Kingston upon Thames

No Scottish women made the woman’s team; captain Steph Johnston missed the cut.

Probably a slightly disappointing representation overall but it was always likely that English players would make up the bulk of the squad. Despite the recent good fortunes of the Scotland players in the shortened game, England have been competing at a higher level for that bit longer. You feel for the likes of Scott Riddell and Jamie Farndale who have had very strong seasons.

Percentage wise it is probably well above recent Lions representation, and we can probably claim Ruaridh McConnochie on linguistic grounds.

Congratulations to Mark Bennett and Mark Robertson who made the cut.

16 Responses

  1. Looking at Eng v Sco head to head over the 2015/2016 season,
    surely you would go with a winning squad and add players
    who excel from the other nations?

    ( Don’t have the Sco v Wal and Eng v Wal data atm )

    Points Overall SCOTLAND 7S 107 – 57 ENGLAND 7S
    Games Won Overall SCOTLAND 7S 5 – 1 ENGLAND 7S
    Bowls Won SCOTLAND 7S 3 – 0 ENGLAND 7S
    Plates Won SCOTLAND 7S 0 – 1 ENGLAND 7S
    Cups Won SCOTLAND 7S 1 – 0 ENGLAND 7S

      1. Only 1 player from the triumphant Twickenham squad in the travelling 14 is risible to be honest.

        I’d suggest that Amor felt obligated to take as many of the English players who ensured GB’s qualification on the World Series last year as possible, but on current form this does seem like a weakened side. Also I think he will have opted for known combinations that fit into his play structure like Mitchell & Bibby, Rodwell & Burgess etc. While one of them might not be on hot form, the other’s indispensability will have helped secure them a place.

        The injury to Lowe at the weekend may also have exacerbated the lack of Scots picked as I believe Amor saw Lowe for the sizeable talent he is. Really want to see Gavin at Fullback for Glasgow at some point this season. We need a proper replacement for Hogg if he goes.

        In all the 7s tournaments, Amor has been talking extensively with Bennett whenever he came off the field trying to mould him back into the 7s mindset to be his ringer, so I’m wholly unsurprised he made it.

        Farndale and Riddell are obviously the big shocks. To take Norton (and McConnochie in the travelling squad) over Farndale is a bit laughable. Hopefully Edinburgh (or Glasgow) give him a serious opportunity to step back into 15s now.

        The other disappointing non-inclusion for me is Hoyland. To have missed out on all this in order to play just 50 minutes for Scotland in Japan seems like a real misstep by the Scotland team (after which he gets replaced by the ever-sleep-walking Maitland for the rest of the tour?). He was outstanding in Paris and London (made a mockery of his English counterparts) and would have added hugely to GB’s aspirations.

        Still, looking forward to seeing rugby back on the world stage again!

  2. Okies so the full breakdown between the home nations is
    ( Now even more peeved )

    Taken from
    Also per leg stub.

    Eng Shield 0, Bowl 0, Plate 1, Cup 0
    Sco Shield 0, Bowl 3, Plate 0, Cup 1
    Wal Shield 1, Bowl 2, Plate 0, Cup 0

    Games Won
    Eng 1 v Sco 5
    Eng 4 v Wal 0
    Sco 3 v Wal 1

    Points Tally
    Eng 57 v Sco 107
    Eng 88 v Wal 27
    Sco 95 v Wal 56

    Points Total
    Eng 145
    Sco 202
    Wal 83

    Breakdown of players for “Team GB”, including reserves

    Eng 9 with 7 sevens specalists
    Sco 2 with 1 sevens specalist
    Wal 3 with 2 sevens specalists

  3. I am bitterly disappointed that more Scots are not in the squad, I think Jones, Farndale and more lately Hoyland have been exceptional.

    But in response to the stats above and playing devils advocate – head to heads against other home nations do not matter. The fact is England have ended the year higher in the world rankings than Scotland this year and for as long as I can remember

  4. With all due respect to Scots players, the reason England Sevens did so poor in 15/16 is Simon Amor’s mismanagement of resting his top players during tournaments. He also blooded many players too green for that level. Injuries to Bibby and Rodwell did not help either. The England veterans are the ones that secured qualification and would best Scotland with another manager in charge. That said, Farndale and Nayacavou should have made it.

  5. Amor as an English coach was always going to take players he is more familiar with.

    Just to mentally prepare everyone (although I think that it’s probably unnecessary) but Gatland will do exactly the same next year with the Lions.

    1. Worst case scenario is only Hogg and Nel go I think. Even Nel isn’t nailed on.

      Need a big 6N from Gray/Gray/Hardie/Dickinson/Bennett/Taylor/Dunbar/Seymour to get any bigger representation. At most I can see 4 travelling and that is unlikely.

      1. At the moment, and as I am ever the optimist, I reckon Hogg, Nel, Dickinson, J. Gray, Hardie, Laidlaw, and Seymour will go, but not one of them will be in the Lions starting XV.

        Hogg has the best chance but Halfpenny will be fit by then and regardless of form I’m sure Gatland will shoehorn him in there.

    2. I think we are all mentally well prepared for that one Frazer, although the optimism never dies.

      I think Hogg, Nel and Taylor will tour for sure. A back three of Hogg, North and Halfpenny would have a nice mix but there are plenty of strong candidates. With Eng/Wal/Ire form improving over the summer and our boys ever hopeful it’s going to be one of the toughest tours to select but that is great given the opposition. That’s assuming a balanced selection policy but overall it could well end up (England/Saracens + North and 1/2p), or (Wales + some Saracens) depending on who coaches; either way that’s a strong case for Duncan Taylor’s inclusion when you look at his career trajectory and the team he is holding down a starting place in.

  6. Returning to the sevens selection for a moment, I think the biggest issue with the English squad in the Sevens Series this year was how quickly their heads went down if things didn’t go their way, they would start dropping off tackles, not work across in defence etc. I don’t think the make up of the GB squad will do much to shake that off – in fact I can see it creating division within the team. There was a great opportunity here to have a right go, but unfortunately, I suspect we’ll be lucky to win a single game.

  7. I guess we can be a little aggrieved at this but over the season just gone, England finished ahead of us on ranking points. Tie that up with every year previously and it’s not too hard to understand why they have perhaps chosen the English guys. Still disappointing.

    Andy N, I’d suggest that we will be beating the Kenyan’s as good as they are. I’d also suggest that if we didn’t beat the Japanese team, that would represent the biggest shock bar Brazil winning a game.

  8. Speaking as an Englishman I am shocked that Amor is taking 8 English players. What criteria is he picking on? Certainly can’t be form, England have been poor in this IRB World Series and to my recall have lost most if not all of their series match-ups with Scotland this year. OK England finished above Scotland in the rankings but Scotland indisputably finished the World Series the stronger team. And in the FIRA Sevens Grand Prix the ‘Royals’ indisputably outperformed the ‘Lions’, so his response is to pick 10 Lions and 2 Royals players? Nayacavou is a wrecking ball who if he doesn’t score creates such a hole that the other 6 can hardly fail to profit, whereas Norton’s tackling has always been iffy and he’s also been very quiet in attack this year [when he has been allowed to play (another separate issue)]. All in all this is shades of the 2005 Lions series in the 15-a-side game where Woodward picked a shed-load of English players on reputation not current form. Hopefully our Olympic participation will turn out better than that fiasco!

  9. With them having to pull in a shadow player does that mean a replacement shadow player flies over or is it your squad of 12 plus 2 shadow and that’s you?

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