Red Roses stars Ellie Kildunne and Meg Jones to join up with GB Sevens ahead of Olympics

The England backs will chase an Olympic medal at Paris 2024

Harry Latham-Coyle
Wednesday 08 May 2024 15:32 BST
Ellie Kildunne and Meg Jones will join the GB Sevens programme ahead of Paris 2024
Ellie Kildunne and Meg Jones will join the GB Sevens programme ahead of Paris 2024 (Getty Images)

England stars Ellie Kildunne and Meg Jones will join up with the Great Britain Sevens programme ahead of Paris 2024.

The Red Roses have been permitted by their clubs to chase an Olympic medal after an outstanding Women’s Six Nations campaign that saw the pair influential in another grand slam.

Both are experienced sevens operators: Leicester centre Jones co-captained GB Sevens at the last Olympics in Tokyo, while Harlequins full-back Kildunne featured 39 times in an England Sevens shirt before re-joining the 15-a-side set-up during the pandemic.

The pair will be available for the season-ending SVNS finals weekend in Madrid at the end of May to try and earn their place at the Olympics, with rugby sevens kicking off the Games on 24 July.

“Joining up with the GB 7s squad is an incredible honour and an exciting opportunity to test myself with a new group of players,” Kildunne said. “Competing at Paris 2024 would be a dream come true, and I’m determined to work hard to make it a reality.

Ellie Kildunne was one of the stars of the Women’s Six Nations (PA Wire)

“I’m grateful to Quins for allowing me to take this opportunity. I’m already excited to be back with the group next season and can’t wait to support them for the rest of this campaign.”

Great Britain narrowly missed out on a medal in Tokyo having been bolstered by the availability of England stars including Natasha Hunt, Helena Rowland, Holly Aitchison and Alex Matthews.

The programme has since been revamped, with a permanent team established to replace the individual unions on the sevens circuit.

Jones could contend to again lead the squad alongside the similarly experienced Abbie Brown, who has missed much of this season due to injury.

“It’s so exciting to join up with the talented GB 7s squad ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games,” the Cardiff-born centre said. “This side has a genuine shot of becoming the first female Great Britain rugby sevens team to win an Olympic medal and I would love to be part of that.”

Meg Jones was one of Great Britain’s co-captains at Tokyo 2020 (Getty Images)

The women’s squad earned qualification with victory at the European Games last summer, but the men face an uphill battle to qualify for Paris after falling short.

They must win the Olympic repechage tournament in Monaco in June, with South Africa, a sevens powerhouse, also among the competing teams after Kenya stunned them to secure the African qualifying spot.

An encouraging bronze medal finish in Singapore last weekend ensured that Great Britain’s men will remain on the top tier SVNS series next season and compete in the grand final in Madrid at the end of the month.

Both British teams ended the regular season eighth in the standings.

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