Gloucester excited by new breed
July 22, 2011
Gloucester's Ryan Mills puts his foot down during last season's JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series © Getty Images
As rugby finishing schools go there aren't many better places than Gloucester, but academy boss Mark Cornwell believes the Cherry and Whites are given all the tools they need to succeed from their friends at Hartpury College.
Kingsholm seems a safe haven for young English talent to prosper, with Dan Robson, Ryan Mills and Koree Britton key cogs in the England Under-20 machine. And the trio have followed in the footsteps of Luke Narraway, James Simpson-Daniel, Henry Trinder and Charlie Sharples, who are all now making their mark in the senior Red Rose ranks after rising through the academy.
What five of the seven have in common - other than strutting their stuff for Bryan Redpath's Gloucester - is that they all learned their trade a stone's throw away at Hartpury.
As the Cherry & Whites get set to release their new academy crop this Friday night when they kick-start their J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens Series campaign, Cornwell is practically salivating at the prospect of their new generation.
"A fair bit of talent comes through Hartpury College and this year is certainly no different," Cornwell said. "The good thing is that the guys at Hartpury already play a very similar style of attacking rugby that we like to play here do they are already in a good shape to jump right in.
"At Hartpury they play a nice style of running rugby and those skills easily transfer to our game. The one thing you can't coach is how to have the taste for rugby and all the young boys come to us with that in abundance, like Charlie Sharples did and we just had to work on his understanding of the game.
"The boys come to us as raw talent and we work on adding the skill set and we are really excited about some of the guys we have seen already for the Sevens tournament."
Gloucester will face Wasps, Northampton and last year's winners Saracens as part of the precursor to this year's Aviva Premiership campaign and as the Cherry & Whites look to go that one step further after falling at the semi-final stage last time out, Cornwell insists a successful Sevens jaunt could be just the kick they need.
"I think the Sevens competition is very important in its own right because it gives us a chance to look at a few of the younger guys and for them to put their hands up for starting places," he added. "We have done well in the Premiership over the last few years but still looking to make the final and if we start well in the Sevens then we can take that form into the league.
"Saracens won it last time and then went on the win the Premiership too so it clearly worked for them and we will be trying to do exactly the same this year."
Tickets for every round of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series are available through Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.uk
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra