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Wales 7s star Luke Treharne to turn to XVs to keep Olympic dream alive

Wales Sevens Luke Treharne

LUKE Treharne refuses to give up on his Olympic dream but has called on Wales to contract their Sevens players for longer in the future after the Welsh Rugby Union axed the programme.

The impact of Covid has hit the WRU’s finances hard and on August 28 the governing body confirmed they were suspending funding to Sevens for the “foreseeable future”.

It has left Wales captain Treharne and his team-mates without a job at the worst possible time even though there is hope the team can return to action in April next year.

Still, that is eight months away – a time Treharne believes must be used wisely if Wales are to improve their substandard performances on the World Series for the last two years.

“The Union has always said once the tournaments are confirmed then their plan is to get up and running again so that is reassuring,” Treharne told TRP. “In terms of Wales Sevens it’s disappointing, but also potentially a chance to change a few things. It’s been fairly obvious to people over the last couple of years that our performances haven’t been great on the series table.

“We’ve almost been relegated two years in a row so I’m hoping this will be a chance to change a few things before we get up and running again.

“The main thing I’d like to see is players hired by the Sevens from the regions for a  bit longer. We’ve always had a good development structure and I think we can continue to work at that, but I don’t think we’ve changed or adapted our programme to how the standard of competition in the series has altered over the years.”

Treharne speaks from a position of authority. He has played 37 World Series events, has led his country for the last two years, and was in the Team GB squad for the 2016 Olympics.

He didn’t play in Brazil, but still hopes to go to the delayed Tokyo Games next summer even if Team GB will face a race against time to get up to speed in time.

He added: “For a lot of Sevens players in England and Wales the end goal is still the same – the Olympics – it’s just the roadmap of how to get there has completely changed.

“I’d be open to going back to play some 15s to keep my rugby going. We know from last time it took a full 14-week block for the players to get used to each other before they picked the squad. That team did so well so at the very least you’d want to get that sort of timeframe again.”

ALEX BYWATER

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