Stars not expected in Rio

IRB chief Miller thinks sevens specialists will dominate Olympics

Last Updated: 05/04/11 6:04pm

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Miller: Confident of sevens success

Miller: Confident of sevens success

Sky Bet

International Rugby Board chief executive Mike Miller believes the more established names in rugby union will not play in the 2016 Olympics.

The sport has been included in the Games in Rio in the sevens format, which now has only a minimal crossover with the more established form of the game.

Although the presence of the global stars found in the 15-a-side game may help boost rugby's profile, Miller believes coaches will not take that into consideration when selecting their squads.

"It would be very difficult for teams to pick their better-known players," Miller said.

"You'll have people who play sevens on a regular basis in the world series. They are professional sevens players.

"If you have a good team, a settled team that knows each other, but the XV guys suddenly think, 'There's an Olympic medal available here, we want this', the coach has a decision to make.

"Does he break up the team and bring someone in who may disrupt things, thinking, 'He's a big name, can I turn him down'?

Difficult

"It's very difficult and I wouldn't like to be a sevens coach, especially in the year before the Olympics.

"We understand that the appeal of the players is important, but if you're a coach you don't give a damn about appeal. All you care about is keeping your job.

"We understand that the appeal of the players is important, but if you're a coach you don't give a damn about appeal."
Mike Miller Quotes of the week

"We need to build up stars in sevens, which we will do over the next couple of years."

Miller also played down suggestions that an explosion in the popularity of sevens could harm the 15-a-side game in the same way that Twenty20 cricket is said to have done to Test matches.

"If you're comparing something that takes five days to something that takes just several hours, that's a huge change," he added.

"The difference between sevens and 15s in that way, for TV, sponsors and fans, is nothing like the massive change that there is in cricket.

"Our view is that rugby will grow, whether it's sevens, 15s, beach, tag or touch - if we get a ball in people's hands and see it on TV."

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