Lions captain Warren Whiteley says choosing the Lions over the Olympics was one of the most difficult decisions of his career.
The number eight decided that he would turn down the chance of an Olympic medal because of his position at the Johannesburg franchise.
"It was an extremely difficult decision, probably the toughest decision in my career," said Whiteley.
"I spoke on numerous occasions to SA Sevens coach Neil Powell about it. It’s still difficult when I think about it, because it wasn’t that I didn’t want to play for the Blitzboks at the Olympics.
"I just couldn’t do both at the same time. Because of the role that I play at my provincial union (as Lions captain) I felt that I would be turning my back on the team and on team-mates that I have been fighting for and with for such a long time."
He added: "It would have been a selfish decision to go to the Olympics, but I can’t tell you that I don’t want to go to Rio because I would be lying."