The Red Roses centre has gone back to sevens ahead of the Paris Olympics

Meg Jones knows rugby is unfair which is why she is giving it everything to get to the Olympics, writes Milly McEvoy of Sportsbeat.

The 27-year-old has spent the past season playing for the all-conquering Red Roses in 15s but has now returned to the sevens fold ahead of the HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final in Madrid. 

Read more: Even Quins fans should cheer Owen Farrell in his Saracens swansong

The tournament serves as the final chance for people to put their hands up for Olympic selection in a competition setting with Jones hoping to usurp one of the players who has been part of the cycle the whole way through. 

“My biggest thing is the game is unfair,” she said. “As much as you want to be loyal and stick to the team and what they need to do. You also must stick to what you need to do, and I understood that by going back to the Red Roses and then coming back to sevens. 

“Yes, there is a team aspect and how you fit into that without a doubt and my emotional intelligence is probably something that has set me apart, so I have understood that. But the game is not forever so you need to do what is best for you and when you do that, I think you get the best out of the individual.” 

Jones admits that while an Olympic medal is the current priority, she has one eye on a Rugby World Cup triumph with the tournament returning to England next year. That was the motivation behind spending the past season with John Mitchell’s Red Roses, starring as England claimed the Grand Slam.

And she is not the only one making the switch with Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship Ellie Kildunne also returning to Sevens.  She added: “There’s been a big shift under John Mitchell that the game is unfair and that is important in sevens as well. 

“I learnt that before, but I think it has been highlighted more. When the ref says the wrong call or if there is something that the ref hasn’t seen, how can we react? Because the game is unfair and sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce the way you want it to bounce. 

“Sometimes the best teams, particularly in the tight games, are the ones who come out on top and don’t feel betrayed or victimised by the game. They just get on with it, put their hard hats on, roll up their sleeves. That is one of the biggest learnings I have jumped on with the Red Roses.” 

Another key skill she is bringing from the 15s set-up is the ability to manipulate defences, with Jones having watched the sevens on from afar. 

She believes her decisiveness and intent, as well as being a natural leader, will help her slot straight back into the game. 

However, she has also stressed how difficult it is to make the change between the two disciplines and is interested to get the thoughts of Antoine Dupont and Michael Hooper who are also treading the same path ahead of Paris 2024. 

“It does feel like an audition, I want to see how I am getting on,” the Cardiff-born player said. It heightens what performance sport is, you want the best players on the pitch, and you want to be able to win a medal. It is a team sport at the end of the day, it is not about the individual.  

“But I am coming into this environment, I need to make sure I am doing everything I can from my point of view. I am treating it with respect, I am understanding emotionally how it is going to make people feel and vice versa. 

“I am also a big character, I understand I can’t just go in all guns blazing, I need to understand where I can fit in and where I can make the team better as well. I fully know my role and I am invested in making that happen, either as a small cog or as a big cog, we’ll see when I start playing.” 

It’s Grand Final weekend in the heart of Madrid, featuring thrilling rugby matches and immersive cultural experiences. From the excitement on the pitch to the buzz in the air, this is one event you won’t want to miss. Be part of history in the making at the iconic Civitas Metropolitano Stadium.

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