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Olympic Rugby
England pair target Rio Games
ESPN Staff
July 29, 2012
England's Chris Ashton races in to score a try, England v Barbarians, Twickenham, England, May 27, 2012
Chris Ashton has the pace to star in sevens © Getty Images
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England duo Chris Ashton and Alex Goode would jump at the opportunity to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Rugby will return to the Olympics in four years in the form of sevens and the Sarries pair are desperate to represent Team GB at the Games. Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths says the club would release players for the tournament, which will clash with pre-season preparations ahead of the 2016/17 Premiership season.

It may not be for another four years but Ashton, who is one of the deadliest finishers in the British game, is excited by the possibility of challenging for a place in a Team GB.

"Yes, I'd love to play at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 if I was given the chance," he told the Rugby Paper. "I would like to go there and any chance to get a gold medal is a very exciting thought."

Whether Team GB stick with the sevens specialists who have performed well for Wales, Scotland and England in the Sevens World Series or call up stars from the international teams of the 15-man game, remains to be seen. However, there is clearly the excitement among the game's biggest stars to be part of the Olympics.

Goode said: "I have always wanted to go to Rio - it would be ideal to combine it with an Olympic Games. I wouldn't hesitate to do it. I would literally love to do that. It would be a dream to be an Olympian. To see the Olympics now and the fever I have got if I even had a glimmer of getting there I would work myself to the bone to have a chance.

"It would be fantastic. I think it would take two months maybe to play a few games and get that level of fitness because those boys are complete athletes these days. But it's something I would just grasp with two hands, just to say I've been to an Olympics and to tell your kids when they're young is special."

Griffiths also confirmed that there would be no opposition from Saracens should any of their players be selected for the tournament in Rio.

"We'd absolutely release Chris Ashton," he said. "Obviously it's a long way away but we try and align the club's interest with the players' interests. Obviously for the player it would be great to play in the Olympics so from our side it would be great for him to play in the Olympics as well."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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