Premiership Rugby 7s: All the teams and the players to watch
The annual Premiership Rugby 7s tournament has become not only a showcase for the new domestic season, it has also become a valuable stepping stone for the latest wave of talent coming through in the English game.
All 12 Premiership clubs have named their squads for the event, which begins this Friday at Franklin’s Gardens with the group stages before the Plate and Cup tournaments are decided on the Saturday.
RugbyPass have compiled all 12 teams below and singled out one fresh face worth watching out for across the two days.
BATH: Levi Davis, Tom de Glanville, Ollie Fox, Max Ojomoh, George Worboys, Myles Bean (guest), Ryan Crowley (guest), Fin Dewar (guest), Nacanieli Kinikinilau (guest), Jack Skelton (guest), Frankie Smith (guest), Tomasi Tanumi (guest).
Max Ojomoh – Having played for Bath’s Premiership Shield side last season, Ojomoh will be well-acquainted with the physical demands of men’s rugby. A balanced inside centre, Ojomoh’s eagerness to find space and ability to make tacklers miss should help him at Franklin’s Gardens.
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BRISTOL BEARS: Harry Ascherl (Bristol Academy U18s), Aaron Chapman, Jack Bates, Ioan Lloyd, Will Capon, Nathan Chamberlain, Toby Venner (Hartpury BUCS), Robbie Smith (Hartpury), Harry Short (Hartpury BUCS), Chay Mullins (Bristol Academy U18s), Alex Forrester (Hartpury BUCS), Ben Tothill (Weston).
Ioan Lloyd – The Welsh fly-half signed professional terms with Bristol this summer after impressing in their under-18s last season, as well as in the Premiership 7s. He’s quick, a good ball-handler and a very promising playmaker.
Sam Maunder – Having not signed any under-18s last season, there aren’t any new faces to look for here but another year for Maunder will give him a further opportunity to showcase why he and his older brother Jack are capable of filling the Nic White void at the club next year.
And in case you needed reminding ? this lot have proper wheels, take a look ? pic.twitter.com/5m1J20iKsA
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) September 12, 2019
Jack Clement – A mobile back rower, Clement could shine in the sevens arena and is one of the first-year forwards who could really catch the eye this weekend. Gloucester don’t lack for alternatives, with seven of their new senior academy intake on show.
HARLEQUINS: Ben Fulton (guest), Sam Riley, Lennox Anyanwu, Lailand Gordon (guest), George Hammond, Jack Kenningham, Mitieli Vulikijapani (guest), Sikeli Rokovunicagi (guest), Lloyd Wheeldon (guest), Dylan Munro (guest), James Bourton, Harry Barlow.
Sam Riley – The skilful hooker should thrive in the open spaces of sevens and will have an opportunity to show off his speed and ball-handling skills. First chance to impress in the potentially entertaining Riley vs Alfie Barbeary rivalry falls to the Harlequin.
Freddie Steward – A well-rounded full-back who has all the prototypical physical skills to flourish in the role, as well as a good technical skill set to complement it. Leicester’s title-winning under-18 back three will all be in action, with Browning and Gilliland also selected.
LONDON IRISH: Jack Cooke, Phil Cokanasiga, Isaac Curtis-Harris (capt), Caolan Englefield, Fergus Guiry, Femi Sofolarin, Timi Olopade, Josh Smart, Ben Atkins, Gavin Dampies, Michael Dykes (London Irish U18s), Alex Harries.
Phil Cokanasiga – The younger brother of the Bath and England wing, Cokanasiga is a centre in XVs. Although he doesn’t boast quite the same gargantuan frame that his sibling does, his technical skill and command of the basics in the midfield single him out as a player of real promise.
NORTHAMPTON SAINTS: Emmanuel Iyogun, Jack Hughes, Devante Onojaife, Tui Uru, Ollie Newman, Connor Tupai (capt), Josh Gillespie, Tommy Freeman, Tommy Matthews, Ethan Grayson (Northampton Saints U18s), Tom Litchfield (Northampton Saints U18s), Dani Long-Martinez (Northampton Saints U18s).
Josh Gillespie – Gillespie got a handful of senior appearances last season as an under-18 and even then, his speed and footwork allowed him to have success. With another year of experience and maturing, Gillespie could be a breakout star this year.
SALE SHARKS: Sam Moore, Rouban Birch, Curtis Langdon, Teddy Leatherbarrow, Luke James, Raffi Quirke, Tom Curtis, James Williams, Conor Doherty, Tom Roebuck, Joe Green (Yorkshire Academy), James Magee (Yorkshire Academy).
Tom Roebuck – The half-back pairing of Quirke and Curtis will be worth watching, but Roebuck’s mix of size and speed should see him do very well on the sevens pitch. If Sale can control the ball, Roebuck will hurt opposition teams.
Oliver Stonham – The No8 was an effective ball-carrier and lineout target in the under-18 side last season and if he, Christie and Reffell can provide some physical punch up the middle, Saracens’ more elusive backs should prosper this weekend.
WASPS: Will Porter (v-capt), Gabriel Oghre, Sunni Jardine, Tim Cardall, Thibaud Flament, Ross Neal, Will Wilson (capt), Paolo Odogwu, Ben Vellacott (v-capt), Jacob Umaga, Callum Sirker, Zach Kibirige.
Will Wilson – There aren’t any first-year players in the Wasps side as they lean on a more experienced group, although mobile flanker Wilson, who recently spent time with the Griquas in South Africa, has an opportunity to put down a marker for senior selection this weekend.
Ollie Wynn – Wynn is still in Worcester’s under-18 side and the scrum-half will gain invaluable experience over the two days at the tournament. The Bromsgrove pupil will hope to follow in the footsteps of his namesake Ollie Lawrence and go from Bromsgrove to professional rugby at the Warriors.
WATCH: The RugbyPass chat with Johan Ackermann, Paul Gustard and Declan Kidney
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