Allianz PWR stars dominate Team GB rugby sevens squad

Nine Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby stars will grace the Olympic stage as part of Team GB this summer after being selected to play rugby sevens at Paris 2024.

The squad includes Ellie Kildunne and Meg Jones, who will switch back from the 15-a-side game having helped England win a Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year.

Kildunne is joined by Harlequins teammate Heather Cowell while near neighbours Trailfinders are represented by Amy Wilson Hardy, Ellie Boatman and Emma Uren.

Bristol Bears’ Jasmine Joyce-Butchers will make history as the first British rugby player to appear at three Olympic Games and is determined to earn a medal having been part of squads that finished fourth in both Rio and Tokyo.

"I really want a medal, no one ever remembers who comes fourth in an Olympic Games," she said.

"We were expected to medal at both Rio and Tokyo so I do think expectations this time round are different.

"We're going in as underdogs and under the radar so we're just going in to enjoy it.”

Grace Crompton joins her Bears teammate in the squad, which also includes Kayleigh Powell and Abi Burton as travelling reserves.

Kildunne is arguably the most eye-catching name to be selected, with the current Six Nations Player of the Championship eagerly awaiting her Olympic debut.

"Of course, I watched the Olympics growing up as everyone else does," she said.

"But I remember when at Rio 2016 when the rugby sevens was first announced as a sport, I found a video on YouTube that was the girls getting kitted out before Rio. I watched that video every single day because it felt like I was there with them.

"Sure the Games are cool, but seeing the life outside of it really inspired another side of me.

"I think that really inspired the creative side of me as well, seeing life in a new angle."

The squad also features Jade Shekells, who credited her breakthrough with Gloucester-Hartpury in the PWR as key to her development.

"My big professional step came when I went to Gloucester-Hartpury, learning all of the important parts that come off a rugby pitch,” she said.

"Premiership Women's Rugby really helped show me what I can do and I'm so proud to see that now come to life at Paris."

The women’s rugby sevens pool stage begins on July 28, with medals to be decided on July 30.

Team GB women's rugby sevens squad: Amy Wilson Hardy (Trailfinders Women), Ellie Boatman (Trailfinders Women), Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins), Emma Uren (Trailfinders Women), Grace Crompton (Bristol Bears), Heather Cowell (Harlequins), Isla Norman-Bell, Jade Shekells, Jasmine Joyce-Butchers (Bristol Bears), Lauren Torley (Harlequins), Lisa Thomson, Meg Jones (Leicester Tigers)

Reserves: Abi Burton (Trailfinders Women), Kayleigh Powell (Bristol Bears)