The National Lottery have stepped in to ensure Team GB's threatened Rugby Sevens teams will be funded ahead of Tokyo 2020.

The men's and women's Sevens programmes became a casualty of RFU cost-cutting measures in August.

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After UK Sport failed to broker a deal with the governing body, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have partnered with tHe Lottery to find the £2m needed to guarantee GB will honour their qualified Olympic spot.

"We're delighted to have secured this partnership with The National Lottery and thank National Lottery players," said RFU Performance Director Conor O'Shea.

"This is a great opportunity for GB Sevens and vital preparation ahead of next summer's Olympic Games.

"We're very grateful to the individual unions and their partners for their co-operation, understanding and continued support."

Having competed on the HSBC World Sevens Series as England, Scotland and Wales in the past, a Great Britain team will now compete on the COVID-dependent 2021 circuit.

The deal is described as an 'innovative commercial partnership' and appears likely to involve extensive shirt sponsorship and exclusive access to the team for Lottery players.

The finance is not coming from the National Lottery Good Causes pot that funds all other Olympic and Paralympic sports.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "I am delighted to see The National Lottery come forward with such an innovative partnership which will not only support Rugby Sevens as a sport, but also give back to society."

With former men's head coach Simon Amor now working with Eddie Jones as England attacking coach, a remodelled coaching staff will lead Great Britain towards the Games.

Charlie Hayter will act as Team Leader, with former USA Eagles assistant Tony Roques coaching the men and Scott Forrest remaining in place as women's coach.

England Sevens legend James Rodwell, who was part of Team GB at Rio 2016 and went to three Commonwealth Games, will assist both women's and men's programmes.

Hayter said: "I'm delighted with the coaching team that we have in place, which has an exciting blend of skills, experience and personalities.

"Scott and Tony as the GB Sevens programme head coaches bring dynamism, passion and a wealth of experience to their respective roles.

"The opportunity we have to inspire Great Britain with rugby 7s on the global stage is one we all look forward to being a part of."

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