There is plenty of talent to catch the eye at the Gardens this weekend in the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series.
All 12 squads have been named, and there is a healthy blend of England’s up-and-coming stars fresh from their promising World Rugby Under-20 Championship campaign, experienced Aviva Premiership players, and international Sevens regulars.
The Saints have included Tom Stephenson, Tom Collins and Jamie Elliott in their 12-man squad, who have all played regularly in the Aviva Premiership and European Rugby Champions Cup, as well as cutting their teeth as teenagers in the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series.
But it is Wasps who will go into the weekend as favourites. The reigning champions have named a star-studded squad featuring Team GB Olympic silver medallist Marcus Watson, try machine Christian Wade and captain Dan Robson, one of the Aviva Premiership’s form scrum-halves last season.
Several clubs have named Sevens internationals in their squads, including England’s Max Stelling, Matt Cox (both Worcester) and Tom Ffitch, Ireland’s Jack Stapley and Scotland’s Alex Glashan (all Leicester).
And has become the norm for the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series, England’s brightest up-and-coming youngsters are also being given an opportunity to shine.
The Saints’ Alex Mitchell is just one of several Under-20 internationals being given a run-out, with others including Matt Gallagher (Saracens), Andrew Boyce (Leicester), Paolo Odogwu (Sale), Harry Randall (Gloucester), Rory Brand (London Irish) and Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins).
Needless to say, there will also be plenty of less familiar faces who will use this chance to make a name for themselves over this Olympic-style two-day tournament – the first time the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series has been staged in one venue.
With 12 games on the Friday and 13 more on the Saturday there will be plenty of action, making the £50 Family ticket fantastic value for money!
Saints play Exeter and Saracens in Friday night’s pool stages. The winners and runners-up from each of the four pools will progress into the Cup quarter finals on Saturday, with the third-placed team competing in the Bowl semi-final.
Gates on Friday open at 4pm to allow plenty of time for bags to be searched at turnstiles, with a Meet the Saints signing session starting at 4:30pm. The rugby kicks off at 6pm and lasts until approximately 10:20pm.
Saturday’s Festival of Rugby opens at 12noon, with the rugby itself lasting between 3pm and approximately 7:30pm.
Supporters coming on Saturday should be aware that there will be promotional filming for the new Channel 5 Premiership Rugby highlights show taking place with Mark Durden-Smith and David Flatman in various parts of the stadium.