London Welsh make Premiership bow in 7s
July 19, 2012
London Welsh will get their first taste of Premiership action at the JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series on Friday © Getty Images
J.P Morgan Sevens Series
Premiership newcomers London Welsh will be given a taste of Aviva Premiership life when they line up in Pool B of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series in front of the ESPN cameras at Edgeley Park, Stockport on Friday night.
The Exiles will takes on hosts Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints, with the top two set to advance to the finals at Bath's Recreation Ground on Friday, August 3. Friday's pool is the second of three with the third to take place at Gloucester's Kingsholm on Thursday, July 26. Last Friday Saracens and London Irish qualified from Pool A. The competing sides are hoping to succeed Newcastle as champions following the Falcons' recent relegation from the top flight.
Michael Hills will captain the Exiles and it marks a return to Edgeley Park for the flanker, who previously played for Sale until he joined London Welsh in 2009. He also played for England on the international sevens circuit during his time at the north-west club and is hoping the competition will help prepare the club for their debut season in the top-flight.
"Sevens is a great sport and I remember playing for England in New Zealand at Wellington's Cake Tin before 30-40,000 people and the atmosphere was electric," Hills said. "It was the winter of 2006 and I was 22 just doing a year on the circuit and it was great fun. It won't be quite like that up in Sale but it will be a good to play at my old club again. I moved to Welsh because there was an opportunity there and it was time for a change. Now we're in the Premiership and I know the whole team is working really hard with the aim of playing rugby and being a successful team next season."
The pool represents the final rugby that Sale will play at Edgeley Park before they move into the Salford City Stadium for the start of the Premiership season. Last year Sale reached the finals stages of the competition before they lost out to Saracens for a place in the final and they remain confident that the side captained by Mark Easter can repeat that performance this year.
"We'd certainly like to give Edgeley Park a good send off as the club has been there over 10 years now," Will Cliff said. "It will be good to get one last run out there and put on a good performance and make the fans enjoy that one last time at Edgeley Park. I think we're quite confident. We have quite a decent young side and we'll certainly try and go out there and do the sort of things we did at Edgeley Park that we did last year and put in some good displays and reach those finals."
Leicester will be captained by Matt Cornwell, who recently returned to the club after spells with Exeter Chiefs, Northampton and Italian side Mogliano. Alongside him in the squad are two academy graduates Alex Lewington and Andy Symons, who appeared for Tigers in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last season.
Northampton meanwhile have a number of players who took part in the 2011 competition in which the Saints lost all three of their matches. Ethan Waller, Darrell Dyer, Tom Collins, Ryan Glynn, Alex Day and Anders return from last year, while youngsters Tom Stephenson and Will Hooley have been included to gain vital experience.
The four teams will hope to replicate the Falcons' success last year © Getty Images
Sale Sharks: Will Bordill, Tom Cruse, James Doyle, Will Hafu, Mark Easter (c), Mark Jennings, Jordan Davies, Will Cliff, Tom Brady, Charlie Amesbury, Johnny Leota, Will Addison
Leicester Tigers: Matt Cornwell (c), Andy Symmons, Alex Lewington, Pasquale Dunn, Tom Hudson, Joe Cain, Harry Wells, George Oliver, Tom Bellak, Harrison Lee-Everton, Lawrence Wooldridge, Brock Davies
London Welsh: Ben Seru, Gerhard Vessells, Tom Rees, Iolo Evans, Michael Hills (c), Peceli Nacamavuto, Aaron Myers, Rhys Howells, Ed Tellwright, Chris Banfield, Rhodri McAtee, Geraint Walsh
Northampton Saints: Ethan Waller, Jack Allcock, Darrell Waller, Tom Collins, Tom Stephenson, Ryan Glynn, Alex Wootton, Alex Woolford, Will Hooley, Alex Day, Anders Mogensen, Howard Packman
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series schedule:
Pool A: London - Friday, July 13, The Twickenham Stoop
Pool B: North - Friday, July 20, Edgeley Park
Pool C: South West - Thursday, July 26
Series Final: Friday, August 3, The Recreation Ground
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September