Scotland’s rugby sevens side has merged with its English and Welsh equivalents to create a British team ahead of the 2023 season.
The home of the code will no longer boast a national side competing on the elite stage following the move by the game’s governing bodies in the respective countries.
Bosses at the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) said the move was to introduce “greater alignment” between the nations in the push for Olympic medals – where they all compete under the Team GB banner.
The countries will retain their autonomy for the upcoming Commonwealth Games tournament and the quadrennial World Cup.
However, the world-renowned HSBC sevens series – which tours the globe across the year – will now feature a side under the name “GB Sevens” rather than individual nations.
Rugby Sevens was conceived in Melrose in the 1880’s by butchers Ned Haig and David Sanderson.
SRU high performance director, Jim Mallinder, said: “We are acutely aware of Scotland’s heritage and passion for sevens rugby. As such we remain fully committed to a Scotland sevens programme to develop our players and coaches.
“The move to a GB Sevens team on the World Series will give Scottish players, both men and women, a unique opportunity to represent and compete on the largest global stage through the World Series and Olympic Games.
“It is an exciting development and one we intend to play a full part in.”
The new side will debut at the HSBC world series opener in Hong Kong in November before moving on to Dubai a month later.
Sevens was introduced to the Olympics in 2016, with the men’s team losing to Fiji in the final and taking a silver medal while the women’s team came fourth.
In Tokyo’s delayed games last year, both the men and women finished fourth. A GB team competed in the 2021 HSBC series in preparation for the games.
World Rugby chief competitions and performance officer, Nigel Cass, said: “We pay tribute to the three unions for their positive and constructive collaboration, which will see a Great Britain Sevens team participate in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series from 2023, aligning with their Olympic participation.
“Building on two highly impactful Olympic Games in Rio and Tokyo, the future of rugby sevens is very bright and we are working hard on exciting plans to engage and inspire new, younger and more diverse participants and fans across the globe.”
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