Kingston rugby star James Lightfoot-Brown has been assured his road to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 will not be blocked by Stuart Lancaster’s senior stars at the last minute.
Lightfoot-Brown is the youngest member of the current England Sevens squad and has played in two of the four World Series rounds so far this season in Dubai and South Africa.
The former London Irish academy star signed a full time contract with the head coach Ben Ryans’ sevens specialists last year with the aim of securing a spot in the squad for Brazil now sevens has been welcomed into the Olympic family.
Earlier this month, England, without former Teddington School student Lightfoot-Brown, picked up their first tournament victory of this season’s World Series with a thrilling extra-time win over the surprise packages Kenya in New Zealand.
And, despite the likes of Chris Ashton and Owen Farrell both expressing an interest to play at Rio 2016, Jonathan Joseph, a member of Lancaster’s Six Nations squad, insists England boss Ben Ryan already has the right ingredients in his set-up.
“Sevens in this country is going places – it is great to see and Ben Ryan has everything in good shape for the Olympics,” he said.
“Ben has his squad system in place and he likes the set-up they have now and fair play, because they train so hard for it and their
fitness levels are amazing, so it would be quite hard to compete with that.
“You never know what the future holds though, but it will be very difficult for any 15s specialist, whoever they are, to break into the sevens environment.
“You can never say never, can you, so I wouldn’t rule it out, but it wouldn’t just be a two-week commitment and the current squad have certainly earned their chance.”
England are up to eighth in the overall season’s standing with 37 points after four rounds.
And Joseph says that highlights how well placed English sevens – and Lightfoot-Brown – is to compete for silverware at the Rio Olympic Games.
“The played really well and showed they have nothing to worry about,” he added.
“Hopefully they can build on that and really push on and, with someone like Ben at the helm, I am sure they will do exactly that because they have done a great job so far.”
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