Sport Rugby

Saturday 16 November 2019

Tony Ward: Woodward puts Irish Olympic effort into perspective

Tony Ward

Tony Ward

WHO said this? "We need a Sevens expert guiding this project. Other nations have got their funding, structures and programmes in place already, they have started their Olympic cycles and if we think we can throw something together in the last six to 12 months, we will be gravely mistaken.

"I just know that in a few years' time, when rugby looks back at the 2016 Olympics, it's going to be seen as one of the most important ever moments in the sport's evolution.

"Rio will offer an incredible stage for the sport and target for those chasing gold medals. I know, for example, there is nothing higher on the New Zealand Rugby Football Union agenda than coming back with two golds (men's and women's). We need to be matching that commitment and vision."

Could it be IRFU chief executive Philip Browne, or director of rugby Eddie Wigglesworth, perhaps even national team coach Declan Kidney? No on all counts.

These are the words of Clive Woodward who just recently stepped down from the British Olympic Association, urging the British home unions and Team Great Britain to move towards Rio 2016 with greater urgency.

Bearing in mind Team GB already have three national teams on the full-time IRB Sevens circuit, need I say more?

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