altSEPTEMBER 19 - NEW ZEALAND captain Richie McCaw (pictured) has thrown his support behind rugby union's efforts to win back its place in the Olympics after a 92-year absence.


He said that if rugby sevens is chosen to be included on the programme for the 2016 Olympics then the top players would back it.


That would give it an advantage over golf, one of its main rivals for inclusion, where the leading stars are split over how important an Olympic gold medal would be.


McCaw said: "There's always talk about it and I guess it would become a truly global game if it did end up in there in time.


"There's the sevens at the Commonwealth Games and it's a big thing for a rugby player to go to that so if they could do something like that it's a thing all players would aim for."


Rugby and golf are two of the seven sports battling to be admitted to the Games along with baseball and softball, controversially omitted from the 2012 Olympics, karate, roller sports and squash.


Rugby was last played in the 1924 Olympics in Paris when the gold medallists were the United States.


Rugby has launched a high-profile campaign to win back their place and recently launched a short promotional film featuring former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio.


Entitled "Reaching Out", the film showcases, what the International Rugby Board (IRB), claims is the "compelling case for Olympic re-inclusion".


The IRB have also hit back at the report, "Putting Rugby First", released in July and which put getting rugby back into the Olympics as top of the agenda.


They claim that the report co-authored by Quentin Smith - chairman of English Premiership club Sale - as being unhelpful because they claimed it is "a deeply flawed piece of work...[and] clearly ignores the substantial development work done by the IRB and Member Unions over the past 10 years".


The report had decried a voting structure that, it said, "gives the International Rugby Board's eight founding members a permanent veto on any proposal and claims the sport is stuck in a 'ghetto' by failing to become a truly global one".


The IRB said in a statement today: "The inaccurate report doesn’t help Rugby's campaign as it paints an inaccurate picture of Rugby."