Rugby Sevens looks set to become an Olympic sport.
The shortened version of the game was today proposed for inclusion in the 2016 Summer Games by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board.
And, as England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete under the same banner at the Olympics, we could be about to witness a Lions style select squad picked specifically for the Games.
Rugby was one of two sports selected from a field of seven, with golf the other successful candidate.
The IOC Board will now submit Sevens for ratification by the full 106-member IOC Assembly in Copenhagen in October.
For Sevens to receive final approval and therefore be granted an Olympic position in sevens years time, a simple majority vote will be required at that meeting in two months time.
The 15-a-side version of the sport has in four different Olympics between 1900 and 1924 but, if confirmed, 2016 will be the first time Sevens has been a part of arguably the biggest sporting event on earth.
“We would like to thank the IOC Executive Board for selecting Rugby Sevens from what are seven strong and diverse sports,” said International Rugby Board president Bernard Lapasset.
“We recognise the significance of this milestone in our campaign but are also mindful that the ultimate decision rests with the IOC members when they meet in Copenhagen on October 9 2009.
“The Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the Rugby Family, providing the opportunity for the best men’s and women’s players in the world to showcase their talent on the world’s greatest sporting stage.
“The international Rugby community is united behind Rugby Sevens’ campaign and we now look ahead to October.”