Dallaglio: Olympics huge for rugby

(Other) Tuesday 31 July 2012  
 Dallaglio: Olympics huge for rugby
Lawrence Dallaglio helped England win RWC Sevens 1993

While London 2012 is providing hundreds of athletes with a career pinnacle in the here and now, many others in the rugby family are already starting to dream of Rio 2016.

In four year’s time Rugby Sevens will make make its Summer Games debut in Brazil, having been admitted to the programme by the IOC back in October 2009.

Lawrence Dallaglio is a World Cup winner in both 15s and Sevens, having won the inaugural RWC Sevens back in 1993, and he believes 2016 will help develop rugby into a truly global sport.

"I am very excited. Sevens has always had the potential to be an Olympics sport," he told ESPN. "Rugby is an international game with a big 12 nations but Sevens is a really global game. You get all sorts of nations playing Sevens.

"The African nations are particularly strong as well as the normal rugby playing nations as you would expect. America are very strong and Latin America too, represented by the likes of Argentina and now Brazil.

"The Olympics has a global reach and it will inspire many, many countries and many, many people to play rugby. I was lucky enough to come through that development system along with the likes of Jonah Lomu, Matt Burke and Christian Cullen. Sevens has been the starting point for so many players and it is a tough game."

The inclusion of rugby in the Olympics has already led to many National Olympic Committees investing in fresh men's and women's Sevens programmes, for example in Russia, China, Canada, USA, Spain and the Netherlands.

Dallaglio insists the pace and skill of the game will make an exciting spectacle for fans in Rio.

"It is a good fit for everyone. It is good for the games, it is good for the Olympic movement and it is also good for rugby as well," he said.

"Rugby is a great spectator sport and a natural fit for the Olympic Games being played over two or three days and it is very, very fast and very exciting. We have seen the success of Hong Kong and the World Sevens Series and it will be brilliant in the Olympics and Rio as well."