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School leavers set to dominate Franklin’s Gardens leg of the Premiership 7s

As with the squads for the Group B leg of the Premiership 7s at Kingsholm, the Group C leg a Franklin’s Gardens is packed full of young talent, including plenty of recent school leavers.

There are also a few members of our Fifteen Rugby All Star Schools 7s Squad, announced today, including Millfield’s Tom Whiteley for Saracens, Whitgift’s Henry Cheeseman for Harlequins, and Epsom College’s Charlie Dockery for London Wasps.

The hosts, Northampton Saints, are absolutely packed with school talent from the last two seasons. They are led by the former Oundle School captain and England U20s JWC winner Sam Olver, who is joined by his fellow JWC winner Howard Packman.

Another senior academy man in Josh Skelcey joins them, while Trent College’s NatWest Schools Vase winner and England U18 player James Fish is also included.

England U18 vice captain and the star of last year’s Rugby School team, Harry Mallinder is included in the squad, as is his England U18 colleague and the man who led St Joseph’s College to their emotional 2013 St Joseph’s Festival title, Lewis Ludlum. Scotland’s Rory Hutchinson is also worth keeping an eye on.

Harlequins do not have an AASE link but they do have one of the most prolific academies in the Premiership and they have plenty of recent academy signings included in their squad.

The England U18 trio of Henry Cheeseman, Joe Marchant, and Kieran Treadwell are all included in the squad and are well worth remembering, particularly Cheeseman who seems destined to be a regular feature in the international 7s set up.

Wellington College’s Sam Aspland-Robsinson, one of the stars of their season, is in the squad as is the former Harrow man, Louis Grimoldby. Perhaps the most promising of the lot though is the former England U18 captain and star of the England U20 JWC winning campaign, James Chisholm. Chisholm seems destined for a long term spot in the Harlequins senior side.

Quins do feature a few senior players, including the likes of Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Charlie Walker, and Sam Stuart, all of whom have pace to burn and ought to be a real presence on the 7s field. Certainly Quins will be one of the favourites given their outstanding sequence at the Floodlit 7s at Rosslyn Park over the last few years.

The player of the tournament at this year’s Floodlit 7s though was a player who has quite rightly developed a reputation as one of the most devastating 7s players on the school circuit in recent memory.

That man was Tom Whiteley, who has just finished his time at Millfield School. The Floodlit 7s was his first ever appearance in a Saracens shirt and he will be desperate to perform to a similar level again at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.

He is joined by a cluster of players all looking to make their mark for the Premiership finalists, perhaps the most well known of whom is Hayden Thompson-Stringer, the former Oaklands College man who was a late call up to the victories England u20s squad at the JWC.

The final side in Friday night’s Group C is London Wasps, and they include one of Fifteen Rugby’s favourite players from the JWC, openside flanker and former Eton College man, Gus Jones. Jones plays with an intelligence and game awareness that rather belies his years and ought to be an exciting man on the 7s field.

He is joined by one of the most devastating ball carries on the school circuit form the last two years in the former Bedford School pupil, Ollie Lyons. Lyons is an absolute powerhouse of a player so it will be a great chance for him to test his skills in the higher pressure environment of the professional sevens circuit.

The former Epsom College player Charlie Dockery is perhaps the most exciting young player on show for Wasps from a 7s point of view though. Dockery was outstanding for the unbeaten school side last season and then proved to be one of the absolute stars of the all conquering Samurai Bulldogs 7s squad through late spring and early summer.

The real beauty of this year’s Premiership 7s is the sheer amount of young players that each team has selected. Last year was very much a tournament filled with ‘fringe’ 1st XV players plus a few select Academy men, but this year most sides have focused very much on those young up and coming stars, which for fans of schools rugby makes it a quite brilliant opportunity to see that progression from school to professional ranks.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing in action at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night? Let us know via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV

Premiership 7s Group C – Friday 1st August, Franklin’s Gardens:

Fixtures

19.15 Northampton Saints v Harlequins

19.40 Saracens v London Wasps

20.10 Saracens v Harlequins

20.35 Northampton Saints v London Wasps

21.05 Harlequins v London Wasps

21.30 Northampton Saints v Saracens

Squads

Harlequins:

Ollie Lindsay-Hague,  Charlie Walker,  Louis Grimoldby,  Sam Stuart,  Sam Aspland-Robinson,  Jack Maslen,  Joe Marchant,  Henry Cheeseman,  Kieran Treadwell,  James Chisholm,  Alosio Yamoyamo,  Izzy Foa’i.

London Wasps:

George Eastwell,  Ollie Lyons,  Gus Jones,  Tom Chapman,  Tom Bliss,  Ollie Evans (c),  Tom Howe,  Harry Sheppard,  Harry Glover,  Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas,  Piers O’Connor,  Charlie Dockery.

Northampton Saints:

Josh Skelcey,  James Fish,  Glenn Dickson,  Tim Cardell,  Alex Woolford,  Rory Hutchinson,  Lewis Ludlum,  Teimana Harrison,  Phil Robinson,  Sam Olver (c),  Howard Packman,  Harry Mallinder.

Saracens:

Samuel Joseph Odhiambo,  Ian Stewart Minjire,  Elliot Reeder,  Ethan Waddleton,  Darryl Dyer,  Hayden Thompson-Stringer,  Will Edwards,  Tom Whiteley,  George Perkins,  Nick Hankin,  Ewan Dickinson Earle,  Dominic Morris.

Group A Qualifiers – Cardiff Blues & Newport Gwent Dragons.

Premiership 7s Finals – Saturday 9th August, Twickenham Stoop.

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