This year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s take place this weekend at Northampton Saints’ Franklin’s Gardens.
There will be no Welsh sides in this year, and the tournament reverts to an ‘Olympic’ style format, with four pools of three teams competing on Friday evening (coverage begins on BT Sport 1 at 17.45).
On Saturday (with coverage again on BT Sport 1, from 14.45) the tournament then splits in Cup, Plate, and Bowl knockouts, with the top side from each Pool in the Cup, second in the Plate, and third in the Bowl.
Group A sees Wasps, Newcastle Falcons, and Leicester Tigers all grouped together. Wasps are skippered by scrum half Dan Robson and possess real pace in the likes of Josh Bassett, Guy Armitage, and former England 7s star Marcus Watson.
As with all teams, they include plenty of youth, including new signing from Bath, the former Millfield hooker Gabirel Oghre.
Newcastle are led by former England 7s flyer Cameron Cowell and include two guests from Northumbria University, Will Muir and former St Joseph’s College star, George Wacokecoke. Also included is Charlie Wilson, the RGS Newcastle leaver and England U18 centre, while 19 year old Ben Stevenson is also in the squad.
England U20 second row and former Sedbergh captain Max Davies also makes the squad, as does former Ipswich School skipper, Simon Uzokwe.
Leicester Tigers are using the event to mark the opening of their new partnership with Loughborough University, which will aim to develop both players and coaches. As such the squad is made up of Loughborough University students, and is skippered by former King’s Worcester captain Andrew Boyce, who represented England at age-group levels. Other recent school leavers in the side include former Epsom College centre Charlie Dockery and ex Bedford School fly half, Oli Burgess.
Group B hosts the returning London Irish, following their one year sojourn in the Championship. They are captained by England U20 scrum half Rory Brand, one of four Wellington College old boys in the squad, including Isaac Curtis-Harris, and recent leavers Ben Loader and Josh Basham.
Basham will be on the England U18 tour shortly after the 7s, where another in the Irish squad, Ollie Hassell-Collins, formerly of St Paul’s Catholic College, will join him.
Gloucester and Harlequins complete Group B, Gloucester’s squad is led by former Scotland U20 international, Ben Vellacott, with his scrum half rival and England U20 international, Harry Randall, also in the squad. His England U20 teammate Ollie Thorley also takes part, as to last season’s England U18 internationals, Tom Seabrook and Jacob Morris.
Harlequins are led by former Whitgift captain Henry Cheeseman, and include a number of school leavers and England U18 internationals in the form of Marcus Smith, Jake Hennessey, Cadan Murley, and John Okafor. Current U20 international Gabriel Ibitoje and Dino Lamb-Cona are also in the squad, as is the former Ireland U20 scrum half Niall Saunders, who left the club last year because of persistent injury problems. Also in the squad is current St John’s Leatherhead star, Jack Musk.
Group C looks exciting, with Bath, Sale Sharks, and Worcester Warriors all naming young squads.
Bath are led by former Sherborne scrum half Will Homer, he is joined by ex Warwick full back Jordan Ainslie, and England U18 international Levi Davies, one of five Bath University students in the squad.
Sale Sharks have this week announced a huge intake of academy players on five-year deals as they begin a revolution of the way academy contracts could be run.
Sam Moore, Matt Sturgess, Luke James, Arron Reed, Nic Dolly, Cameron Redpath, Kieran Wilkinson, Connor Doherty, Sam Dugdale, Ciaran Booth, and Bevan Rodd have all signed five year academy deals, and Dolly, Doherty, James, Wilkinson, Reed, and Sturgess are all included in the squad for the weekend, with Dolly leading the side.
Among those joining them are England U20 winger Paolo Odogwu, and the former England U20 hooker, Curtis Langdon.
Worcester Warriors are led by former Schools Cup finalist Max Stelling, with Old Swinford Hospital, one of his teammates that day was Huw Taylor, who is also in the squad for the Singha 7s.
Will Butler, Afeafe Haisila Lokotui, Alex Hearle and Nick David, a Schools Cup winner this year with Warwick, are included, as is former Warwick number 8 Tom Dodd, who represented Scotland U20 this year. Former U18 players George Wootten and Alex Forrester also link up.
Group D looks especially competitive, with Exeter Chiefs, Northampton Saints, and Saracens all lining up.
Exeter are skippered by former Prior Park College centre Pete Laverick, with new singing Tom O’Flaherty, a former Schools Cup winner at Dulwich College, also included.
Joe Snow, Harvey Skinner, and Joe Elderkin, all of whom joined the academy this summer, are all included, while four players from Exeter University also join the squad, Sal M’Boge, James McRae, Kieran Kelly, and the talented Sam Morely.
Northampton Saints welcome back former England U20 centre Tom Stephenson after a long absence, he is joined by a number of stars from this years England U18 and U20 sides, including former Bedford School pair Fraser Strachan and Fraser Dingwall, as well as Ollie Sleightholme and Alex Mitchell.
Others in the squad include ex Stowe star Devante Onojaife, former Trent College man James Fish, and the elusive former St Joseph’s College scrum half, Tom Emery.
Saracens, meanwhile, are captained by the former Millfield star and onetime Rosslyn Park National School 7s player of the tournament, and an Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough player of the Season nominee last year, Tom Whiteley.
He links up with England U20 outside backs Rotimi Segun and Matt Gallagher, along with two of the stars of Harrow’s recent successes, Andy Christie and Rueben Bird-Tulloch. A number of guest players also link up with the squad, including former Wellington College captain Will Wilson, veteran of two Varsity Matches and a member of the England 7s Academy. Also joining the squad are two players from the Seventy7s squad, Jermain Olason and Josh Christie, a side that is coached by Whiteley and also features his two brothers.
How to Watch:
Friday 28 July – BT Sport 1 (Live from 17.45)
Saturday 29 July – BT Sport 1 (Live from 14.45)
Sunday 30 July – Channel 5 (Highlights from 23.35)
2017 Premiership Singha 7s Squads:
Wasps – Marcus Watson, Brendan Macken, Christian Wade, Gabiriele Lovobalavu, Gabriel Oghre, Alex Rieder, Guy Thompson, Owain James, Dan Robson (c), Craig Hampson, Josh Bassett, Guy Armitage.
Newcastle Falcons – Glen Young, Max Davies, Harrison Orr, Gary Graham, Simon Uzokwe, Cameron Cowell (c), Adam Radwan, Ben Stevenson, Charlie Wilson, Brett Connon, George Wacokecoke, Will Muir.
Leicester Tigers – Harry Nuttall, Andrew Boyce (c), Charlie Dockery, Oli Burgess, Ben Pointon, Alex Glashan, Jack Stapley, Will Kaye, Tom Ffitch, Will Foster, Victor Keunen, Luke Frost.
London Irish – Josh Basham, Isaac Curtis-Harris, Jack Cooke, Rory Brand (c), Ollie Hassell-Collins, Jaike Carter, Ben Loader, Samir Kharbouch, Isireli Seva, Dan Barnes, George Simpson, Tom Hanley.
Gloucester – Carwyn Penny, Jacob Morris, Tom Seabrook, Charlie Chapman, Harry Randall, Jake Polledri, Aaron Hinkley, Will Safe, Ben Vellacott, Mason Tonks, Ollie Thorley, Tom Hudson.
Harlequins – John Okafor, Dino Lamb-Cona, Jack Musk, Jonas Mikalcius, Henry Cheeseman (c), Calum Waters, Gabriel Ibitoye, Marcus Smith, Niall Saunders, James Lang, Jake Hennessey, Cadan Murley.
Bath – Jack Davies, Jordan Ainslie, Tom Kynge, Will Homer (c), Will Flinn, Joe Smith, Levi Davis, Robert Bell, Joe Atkinson, Sikeli Rokovunicagi, Rory Wood, Fin Dewar.
Sale Sharks – Billy Wara, Curtis Langdon, JT Nabetelevu, Nic Dolly (c), Toby Hodges, Charlie Reed, Connor Doherty, Luke James, Paolo Odogwu, Connor Wilkinson, Arron Reed, Matt Sturgess.
Worcester Warriors – Matt Cox, Buster Lawrence, Huw Taylor, Tom Dodd, Ben Howard, Max Stelling (c), Nick David, Alex Forrester, George Wooten, Afeate Haisila, Alex Hearle, Will Butler.
Exeter Chiefs – Robin Wedlake, Pete Laverick (c), Tom Hendrickson, Sam Morley, Max Bodilly, Sal M’Boge, Tom O’Flaherty, James McRae, Kieran Kelly, Joe Snow, Harvey Skinner, Joe Elderkin.
Northampton Saints – Devante Onojaife, Reece Marshall, James Fish, Fraser Strachan, Fraser Dingwall, Tom Stephenson, Ollie Sleightholme, George Furbank, Alex Mitchell, Tom Emery, Jamie Elliott, Tom Collins.
Saracens – Andy Christie, Scott Spurling, Tom Griffiths, Will Wilson, Matt Gallagher, Rueben-Bird Tulloch, Alex Gliksten, Tom Whiteley (c), Mike MacDonald, Rotimi Segun, Jermaine Olasan, Josh Christie.