Ireland international set for switch to sevens ahead of the Olympics


Back in December, IRFU performance director David Nucifora revealed an unprecedented deal with the four Irish provinces ahead of the Olympics in France.

A player each from Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connacht is currently being identified to try their hand at sevens, and feature in the closing stages of the SVNS World Series, ahead of a potential Olympic bow with their country.

There has been plenty of speculation as to who these players might end up being and now one has come out to reveal that he has put his name in the hat.

Ulster winger Rob Baloucoune, who has four caps for Ireland, has made himself available as he bids to follow in the footsteps of France captain Antoine Dupont and former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, who have both made the temporary switch ahead of the Olympics.

“It has definitely crossed my mind,” Baloucoune told the BBC.

“It would be a great opportunity to play in the Olympics. I really enjoyed sevens whenever I was playing. It was my first step into professional sport.

“It’s a great group of lads as well, they’re a great team so it’s always been in the back of my mind, but it’s just depending on sections and stuff like that.

“I am definitely raring for the opportunity. Obviously, it depends on certain injuries and how the body is and on our circumstances here, but if the opportunity arises, I’m definitely willing to go.”

Baloucoune says he dreamed of competing in the Olympics in athletics as a child.

“I definitely used to dream about being in the Olympics as a runner whenever I was young, so even just being a part of the Olympics is pretty much a dream come true,” he added.

“Then also representing Ireland in the Olympics is even more special just with family and friends and stuff like that it would be class.”

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