Ireland finally look to take Sevens seriously ahead of Rio 2016
IRISH Rugby Football Union officials are finally taking sevens seriously, following the sport's introduction to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
AMBITION: Ireland has been the slowest of the home unions to embrace sevens - but that is slowly changing after the sport won Olympic status
Ireland has been the slowest of the four home unions to embrace the code, finishing bottom of a pool that included Portugal, Samoa and Australia at the last World Cup in Dubai - and then losing to Zimbabwe in the final of the bowl competition.
They are also not one of the 12 core teams - who include world champions Wales, England and Scotland - in the IRB Sevens World Series circuit.
Following sevens successful Olympic bid in Copenhagen last year the IRFU formed a review committee to suggest how the abridged version of the game could be integrated into existing structures.
This year will see the introduction of provincial competitions for men and women, as well as a series of age-group tournaments for boys and girls
However, qualification for the Olympics is expected to be tough with the International Olympic Committee insisting only 12 men's and women's team will be allowed to compete.
Last year International Rugby Board chief executive Mike Miller admitted there had been no firm decision as to how Irish players might be represented.
Normally a united team, there may be a split with players available for both the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, under the control of the British Olympic Association, and the Republic of Ireland, represented by the Olympic Council of Ireland.