Discussions held over Team GB Sevens men's side for 2021 World Series

Wales' James Davies was part of the Team GB Sevens side that won silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio
Wales' James Davies was part of the Team GB Sevens side that won silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio

Welsh Rugby Union performance director Ryan Jones says discussions have been held about a combined Team GB men's squad for the 2021 World Sevens Series.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney has suggested the England, Wales and Scotland could merge to become a permanent combined GB men's and women's sevens sides.

Both Team GB sides look to compete at the Olympics every four years.

Jones says a men's amalgamation was being looked at for next year's Games.

That would benefit the side for the delayed Olympics in Tokyo in the summer of 2021 but Scotland have already dismissed talk of a long-term permanent merger.

"The conversation with regards to the men's provision has been is it appropriate for 2021?" said Jones.

"There's a couple of reasons behind that. It gives Team GB the best possible opportunity ahead of the Olympics and we all want to make sure we go there fully prepared.

"We don't know what the situation regarding the World Series is given the [coronavirus pandemic] situation we all find ourselves in as unions.

"Resources are a huge issue for us and making sure we service those programmes appropriately.

"So GB Sevens for season 2021 is something that is being and has been explored.

"There's no decision made on that yet but the intent is that sevens, as Scotland said, will still exist pre and post (the Olympics) in Wales for both men and women."

Wales' men won the World Cup Sevens tournament in 2009 but a steady decline saw them finish 15th in this season's World Series after the cancellation of the remaining rounds.

"There will be a sevens provision in Wales next year," said Jones.

"We still see sevens as a valuable tool for both coach and player development. It has to be resourced and given a proper provision to ensure it's sustainable and that's the challenge we currently face given the climate."

Martyn Phillips and Ryan Jones on the changes to the women's game in Wales

Jones insisted there were no plans for a women's Team GB combined side next year and hopes Wales women can eventually gain a place on the World Series circuit.

"The conversation has never been around the women's provision," said Jones.

"We would love to have our sevens represented on that global stage, it's a fantastic vehicle to grow the women's game. It is a Commonwealth Games and an Olympic sport which adds to the attraction.

"There is a qualification process to go through. We have to go through a couple of Rugby Europe competitions with the trophy and the grand prix series.

"If you come out on top of those and then you've got to go to a World Sevens series qualifier.

"That is a big carrot for us and one of our major objectives."