Scotland’s sevens squad could be absorbed into a Great Britain side from 2018, it has emerged, just days after Scotland clinched back-to-back London World Series titles.
Discussions have taken place between the unions of England, Scotland and Wales, with a view to merging the teams on the Sevens World Series.
The proposed integration, if ratified, would take effect for season 2018-19.
It is thought to be intended as an aid to preparations for the 2020 Olympics.
The individual nations would diverge to compete on the second-tier European circuit, the Commonwealth Games and the quadrennial Sevens World Cup, meaning Scotland Sevens would not cease to exist as a separate entity should the merger come to pass.
Under the current Olympic system, Team GB may nominate a “lead nation” to undertake their qualification bid, with the sides finishing in the top four of the annual World Series automatically gaining Olympics entry.
Theoretically, GB therefore has three opportunities to earn an Olympic berth.
It is believed private funding would be sought for the combined GB side, with additional investment from each of the three unions, and the team would be led by England head coach Simon Amor.
The former scrum-half took charge of Team GB at last year’s Rio Olympics, where they finished runners-up to Fiji.
Scotland, who beat England in the London final to retain their cup title, contributed only two players to Amor’s Olympics squad – one of those, Mark Bennett, is primarily a XVs international, while the other, Mark Robertson, has now retired from the sport.
In a nation of only two professional teams, the loss of Scotland Sevens from the World Series may inhibit opportunities for the development of young players seeking to bridge the gap between amateur or academy rugby, and the rigors of the full-time professional game.
With the season now over, head coach Calum MacRae, and strength and conditioning coach and team manager Nick Lumley have moved to Edinburgh, where they will work under the incoming Richard Cockerill.
John Dalziel, formerly of London Scottish, will take charge of Scotland Sevens for 2017-18.