WALES, England and Scotland will merge their rugby sevens teams to form men’s and women's Great Britain teams ahead of the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The move has been confirmed by the Welsh Rugby Union, the Rugby Football Union and Scottish Rugby, and has been ratified and mandated by World Rugby.

However, each union will still be able to compete as an independent side in the World Cup - should they qualify - and the Commonwealth Games.

The move comes as a result of the mandating of Olympic teams from the 2023/24 season, and it is hoped this will improve the chances of the men’s and women’s GB teams medalling at the Olympics by having players from the respective unions training and playing together.

Team GB has put in strong performances at the Olympics since sevens was introduced, with the men securing silver in Rio and fourth in Tokyo while the women earned two fourth place finishes.

Work will continue over the coming months to confirm the Team GB details, including leads, coaches and playing squads ahead of the World Series, which kicks off in Hong Kong for the men (November 4-6, 2022) and Dubai for the women (December 2-3, 2022) which will be the teams’ maiden tournaments.

WRU performance director Nigel Walker said: "This is a real opportunity for Welsh players to reach an Olympic Games.

"We will maintain male and female sevens programmes in Wales to develop players and coaches and make sure there is a pipeline of talent culminating in the opportunity to push for GB selection and ultimately compete at an Olympics."

RFU performance director Conor O’Shea said: "A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to get to this stage and I would like to thank our colleagues at Scottish Rugby and Welsh Rugby Union along with Nigel Cass (competitions director at World Rugby) for their collaboration.

"This is a seminal day for sevens, it is the right way forward, giving Team GB a real opportunity to go to the Olympic games with the right preparation, to compete on a level playing field with other sevens programmes and most importantly enables us all to give certainty to staff and players as to the future of the programme.

"We will be working hard now to finalise the structures to support GB so we are ready to start the 22/23 World Sevens Series with a bang moving towards Paris 2024 and beyond."