Commonwealth Games Wales have today confirmed that the Wales netball team and men’s Rugby 7s will be competing at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
Netball and men’s rugby 7s are the first team sport to be selected for a place in the Team Wales squad at next year’s Games, having met the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) qualification requirements.
The Wales netball team retained their 8th position in the International Netball Federation’s World Rankings, making them eligible for a place at the 2018 Games alongside 11 other teams.
The Welsh men’s rugby 7s side qualified as 8th Commonwealth nation in this year’s World Rugby Sevens Series.
Helen Phillips, Chair of the Commonwealth Games Wales Board which today ratified the selection decision said: “This is fantastic news, we’re absolutely thrilled that Welsh netball and the men’s rugby 7s squad have secured their place at next year’s Games.
“It’s been an exciting year for Welsh netball, with the test series against New Zealand’s Silver Ferns back in February drawing in the biggest ever crowds to watch international netball in Wales.
“Likewise, men’s rugby 7s continue to perform well on the World series circuit and were unlucky not to medal in Glasgow 2014.
“Qualifying for the Gold Coast Games is down to the hard work and dedication of the players, their coaches and support staff at Welsh Netball and the Welsh Rugby Union.
“Now that netball and men’s rugby 7s place in Team Wales is confirmed, we look forward to announcing other Welsh team sports over the coming months as they qualify for Gold Coast.”
Sarah Jones, Welsh Netball CEO said: “We are thrilled to receive the ratified decision and are very much looking forward to being part of Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.
“There has been significant preparation leading up to our successful qualification – highlights included an international three-day test series in South Africa last year, and the Swansea University International Test Series against world number 2 the Silver Ferns.
“We look forward to improving on our performance at Glasgow 2014, and building upon our success at the Netball World Cup in Sydney 2015.”
Geraint John, the Welsh Rugby Union’s Head of Performance, said: “Competing in the Commonwealth Games is always a significant ambition for us, so we’re delighted to qualify for the Gold Coast next year. The game is going from strength to strength in Wales, and under head coach Gareth Williams and assistant coach Richie Pugh our national side has been achieving some very positive results with an exciting young group of players.
“Whilst displaying some excellent performances in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and in Rugby Europe this year, the team has also managed to increase its strength in depth, so I have no doubt they will provide a formidable challenge as part of Team Wales in 2018.”
Whilst team sports, weightlifting and para-sports places are determined by rankings, under a new Commonwealth Games Federation policy, individual athletes across other sports will be nominated by the National Governing Bodies based on eligibility and performance criteria.
Team Wales individual athlete selection will be made by Commonwealth Games Wales at the end of the year.