Former Fylde player Dan Bibby is denied second Olympic medal in rugby sevens and hits out over Team GB funding
Former Fylde RFC player Dan Bibby just missed out on a second Olympic medal in the rugby sevens and then spoke out against a lack of funding.
Fly-half Bibby, 30, captained the Team GB side which lost 29-7 to New Zealand in the semi-finals in Tokyo today, then were edged out 17-12 by Argentina in the bronze medal match.
Former Kirkham Grammar School player Bibby, from Aspull in Wigan, played for Fylde’s first team as an 18-year-old student in 2009 and has been an England/GB sevens specialist since 2012, winning silver at the Rio Games fives years ago.
Their fourth-placed finish in Tokyo, where Fiji took gold today, defied the odds after significant cuts.
Funding was obtained via a commercial partnership struck between the Rugby Football Union, Scottish Rugby Union, Welsh Rugby Union and The National Lottery.
But Bibby, who replaced the injured Tom Mitchell as captain for the final two games, said: “We tried to showcase ourselves as much as we could and show how exciting sevens is.
“Unless the unions pull their fingers out, it is not going to be exciting much longer. Off little funding, we can do that. Imagine what we can do with proper funding.
“If you look at who has done well in this tournament .... New Zealand, Argentina and Fiji have had full programmes the entire time. You cannot compete on this level unless it is properly funded.
“I can only do what I can on the pitch. Everything else is up to the unions.”
Looking ahead, Bibby added: “Being brutally honest, it’s a joke. We have been offered eight contracts. Eight contracts is ridiculous.
“You are asking us to play against a team like New Zealand with eight boys on not much more than minimum wage. It’s impossible.
“If they are not going to fund it, be grown-up about it, come out and say it. But not all this wishy-washy absolute nonsense. That is my view on it.”
Fiji, coached by Welshman Gareth Baber, successfully defended the Olympic title, beating New Zealand 27-12 in the final.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here