IRFU reveal unprecedented Olympic 7s deal with the four provinces
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The IRFU have announced that four players will be given a chance to compete for Ireland at the Olympic 7s next year.
A number of big names including France captain Antoine Dupont and Wallabies legend Michael Hooper have already announced their switch and now IRFU performance director David Nucifora has revealed that a similar opportunity will be afforded to players contracted to the four Irish provinces.
One player from each of Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht will be identified in the coming weeks and months to try their hand at sevens, and feature in the closing stages of the SVNS World Series.
“More than likely that player will be a player that has come through the Sevens programme at some stage, so they’re familiar with the game,” Nucifora said.
“It will also be a fact that we’ll work with the province and the player and look to integrate that player, or players, in the back end of this season to be able to see where they fit and whether they can earn their selection in the Olympic squad, which will probably be named in late June or early July.
“So any players we look to bring in will have to be people that we think can add value significantly to the current squad.”
A number of players from the four provinces have sevens experience including the likes of Hugo Keenan and Jimmy O’Brien at Leinster, Shane Daly at Munster, Andrew Smith and Liam McNamara at Connacht, and Robert Baloucoune at Ulster.