Former Welwyn Rugby Club junior off to Tokyo Olympics

England's Helena Rowland (left) celebrates scoring for England with Abbie Ward

Former Welwyn RFC junior Helena Rowland (left) celebrates scoring for England against Scotland in the 2021 Women's Six Nations. - Credit: BRADLEY COLLYER/PA

Helena Rowland could be in line for an Olympic gold medal - if her coach has anything to do with it.

The former Welwyn Rugby Club junior has been selected for Team GB in the Rugby Sevens competition in Tokyo.

Abbie Brown and Megan Jones will co-captain the squad which features a number who have experience playing in the World Series as well as international rugby for a number of years.

Rowland made her mark in the adapted Women's Six Nations, scoring for England against Scotland in April.

It will be her first Olympics but for 2014 World Cup winner Natasha Hunt, Jasmine Joyce and skipper Brown, this is their second games after the sport was introduced at Rio 2016.

Women’s head coach Scott Forrest said: “Selection was very tough. We’ve had 22 players involved in the programme since we started in March who have created a very competitive environment.

"Every one of those players has been so important and it’s not just about the successful 13 players who have been selected. If we are successful in Tokyo, it’s going to be down to the whole squad, the whole 22 not just those who are going out to perform at the Olympic Games.

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“For the 13 that are selected, when you look at the squad on paper it’s very exciting. This squad for me has the potential to go and win a gold medal.

"We have 41 days to go until the first game and understand that there are improvements we need to make over that period until we get to our first game.

"We’ve definitely got the potential and that for me as a coach is really exciting.”

Team GB's chef de mission, Mark England, said: “There is a huge amount of experience across both [the men's and women's] squads, not only from Rio 2016 but from many years of competitive rugby sevens which will stand these athletes in great stead heading into Tokyo.

"We’d like to congratulate everyone on their selection and look forward to seeing sevens in action at the Tokyo Stadium this summer.” 

The women’s tournament runs between July 29 and 31.

Team GB rugby sevens squad for Tokyo 2020
 Holly Aitchison
Abbie Brown
Abi Burton
Deborah Fleming
Natasha Hunt
Megan Jones
Jasmine Joyce
Alex Matthews
Celia Quansah
Helena Rowland
Hannah Smith
Emma Uren
Reserve: Lisa Thomson

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