Borderers picked for Olympic rugby sevens squads

Two Borderers have been named in Great Britain’s women’s rugby sevens training squad for this summer’s Olympic Games in Japan and ex-Melrose player Ross McCann is joining the male version.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 11:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 2:16 pm
Chloe Rollie on the ball for Surrey's Harlequins Women in November 2019 (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins)

Hawick’s Lisa Thomson and Jedburgh’s Chloe Rollie, along with McCann, are among 12 Scottish players picked for Team GB’s initial training squads for the truncated and belated Tokyo games, scheduled to take place in July and August.

Thomson, 23, and Rollie, 25, feature among six Scots in Scott Forrest’s 19-strong female squad, the others being Megan Gaffney, Rhona Lloyd, Helen Nelson and Hannah Smith.

There are also six Scots in Tony Roques’ 21-strong men’s list, the others, besides McCann, 23, being Alec Coombes, Jamie Farndale, Robbie Fergusson, Paddy Kelly and Max McFarland.

Lisa Thomson tackles Jess Breach during the Guinness Six Nations match between Scotland Women and England Women at BT Murrayfield on February 10, 2020, in Edinburgh (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group/SRU)

Former Hawick and Border Reivers player Forrest, 36, said: “It’s a very strong 19. The four players from Rio 2016 bring really good experience, as do the English players who have been playing consistently on the world series for the past couple of seasons.

“The Scottish and Welsh players have been playing international rugby for a number of years, in both sevens and 15s, and this will be invaluable.

“We appreciate that all of the squad have been playing regular rugby over the last year which is a massive strength of our team and how important this has been for their individual growth.

“A focus for us initially as a GB7s team is to grow our culture and environment as we now have the opportunity to build something special as a group.

Ross McCann playing for Melrose in 2016 (Photo: Douglas Hardie)

“We feel we’ve got a really good mix of experience from the last Olympic Games and world series, as well as international rugby, but at the same time it’s a very fresh squad which is exciting.”

Roques, 42, said: “We’ve picked a squad with a huge amount of experience in successful sevens programmes and, after what has been a very difficult year, everyone is up for the challenge.

“The management team are working exceptionally hard. We’re now on virtual calls with the players and you can see there’s excitement about the potential of what we can achieve.

“A lot of our conversations about our values are focused on enjoying the moment and remembering where we’ve come from.

“Many people are suffering in the world at the moment and we’re aware there’s a bigger picture outside of rugby.

“We are hugely privileged to be given this opportunity and to have the chance to achieve something really special as a group.”

Rollie said: “Being selected for the Team GB training squad is massive for me as I’ve always dreamt of being part of an Olympics.

“It’s such a privilege, and this opportunity allows me to be one step closer.

"I’m excited to work even harder over the next few months to have the best chance of achieving my lifelong dream.”

Both teams will be based at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, with their first training camps taking place this month ahead of pre-Olympic tournaments and the 2021 HSBC World Sevens Series.