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Former Highland Rugby Club player Paddy Kelly on track for Olympic spot with Great Britain Sevens squad

By Andrew Henderson

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Paddy Kelly has been included in the initial training squad for Great Britain's Olympic Sevens squad for this summer.

The former Millburn Academy pupil is part of a 21-man selection by men's head coach Tony Roques, and one of six Scottish players in the fold.

Kelly was born in Inverness and turned out for Highland before winning a scholarship at Merchiston Castle School, eventually going on to sign professional terms with the Glasgow Warriors.

A Scotland under-20 cap, he struggled for regular game time at Scotstoun which has led to him trying his hand in sevens.

Paddy Kelly struggled to get regular game time at Glasgow Warriors before changing focus to Sevens. Picture: SRU/SNS Group
Paddy Kelly struggled to get regular game time at Glasgow Warriors before changing focus to Sevens. Picture: SRU/SNS Group

He debuted in that format last January in New Zealand, scoring his first try in a Pool A match against Wales.

Now, the 25-year-old is in contention to play at the Tokyo Olympics, and he will be heading to the first GB training camp at Loughborough University next month.

“We’ve picked a squad with a huge amount of experience in successful sevens programmes and after what has been a very difficult year, everyone is up for the challenge," Roques said.

“The whole programme are working exceptionally hard. We’re now on virtual calls with the players and you can see there’s excitement about the potential of what we can achieve.

“A lot of our conversations about our values are focussed on enjoying the moment and remembering where we’ve come from.

“Many people are suffering in the world at the moment and we’re aware there’s a bigger picture outside of rugby. We are hugely privileged to be given this opportunity and to have the chance to achieve something really special as a group.”

Helen Nelson, also born in Inverness and now playing for Loughborough Lightning, has been included in the women's squad as one of six Scottish names.

Women's head coach Scott Forrest said: "The Scottish and Welsh players have been playing international rugby for a number of years, in both Sevens and 15s, and this will be invaluable.

“We appreciate all of the squad have been playing regular rugby over the last year which is a massive strength of our team and how important this has been for their individual growth.

"A focus for us initially as a GB Sevens team is to grow the culture and environment as we now have the opportunity to build something special as a group.

“We feel we’ve got a really good mix of experience from the last Olympic Games, World Series as well as international rugby but at the same time it’s a very fresh squad which is exciting.”

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