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Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Rugby makes its Olympic case
The 1924 Olympics saw Rugby's last involvement
The 1924 Olympics saw Rugby's last involvement
The International Rubgy Board has taken what it believes to be the first step on the road to seeing rugby reinstated as an Olympic sport.

IRB chairman Vernon Pugh described a meeting in Sydney with the International Olympic Committee as "extremely successful" and said: "We are doing our very best to get rugby back into the Olympics."

Rugby was last played at the Games in 1924, but the IRB would like to see it back on the Olympic roster by 2008.

Pugh, who was joined at the Sydney meeting by a number of key figures in Australian rugby, including Wallabies captain John Eales, stressed the worldwide importance of regaining Olympic recognition.

He said: "The reception we received was judged to be extremely successful with high levels of interest being expressed by the IOC members present for the inclusion of rugby."

Vernon Pugh
Vernon Pugh, chairman of the International Rugby Board
The Athens games in 2004 would according to Pugh be "problematic" for logistical reasons so it is instead the 2008 Games that are being targeted.

Pugh added: "We also made individual presentations to Beijing, Osaka, Paris and Toronto, four of the five cities who are bidding for 2008 Games.

"Osaka, Paris and Toronto expressed great enthusiasm and support especially."

Increased fears

Whether rugby would take the form of 15 or seven a-side remains undecided at this point and should the IOC give the go-ahead it will only increase fears over the already-congested fixture list.

Rugby would then face a four-year cycle of major competitions - the Rugby World Cup, the Rugby World Cup Sevens, the British Lions tour and the Olympics.

However, Pugh played down such fears: "Of course we have to keep a close eye on holding too many matches as we don't want overkill, but the Olympics is a great event.

"We plan to use qualifying via existing tournaments so therefore there are no additional matches. We also already have a calendar so we know who's playing what and where."

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25 Sep 00 |  Rugby Union
Rugby eyes Athens return
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