J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series
Stage set for Sevens opener
July 12, 2012
Sailosi Tagicakibau looks set to appear for London Irish on Friday © Getty Images
J.P Morgan Sevens Series
The battle for this year's J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series title is set to kick off in front of the ESPN cameras at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday night.
Harlequins, London Irish, London Wasps and Saracens are the first to enter the fray with all four sides hoping to succeed Newcastle as champions following the Falcons' recent relegation from the top flight. Sarries will be hoping to produce the kind of form that carried them to the inaugural title two years ago.
The Stoop showdown is the first of three qualifying competitions featuring all 12 Aviva Premiership sides with Sale Sharks' former home Edgeley Park (July 20) and Gloucester's Kingsholm (July 26) also set to host a feast of Sevens rugby in the coming weeks. The winners and the runners-up from each event will qualify for the final that is set to be staged at Bath's Recreation Ground on August 3.
All four teams have named their squads with each boasting a mixture of youth and experience. Quins' line-up boasts four players who were featured last year with England 7s international Ollie Lindsay-Hague joined by Ross Chisholm, Miles Mantella and Jordan Burns. Their team will be captained by Will Skinner with new signings Ben Botica and Dave Ward and hot prospect Luke Wallace other notable inclusions.
Nils Mordt will skipper a Saracens squad that also includes first-teamers Jackson Wray, George Kruis, Ben Spencer and Will Fraser while Jono Ross, who is on trial from the Blue Bulls, is also included.
London Irish have named a very strong squad with internationals and new signings included. Tomas O'Leary, Topsy Ojo, Shane Geraghty, and Tom Homer all feature in the 11-man. Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith is adamant that his side are targeting starting the season with some silverware.
"Putting big names on paper does not guarantee anything, but obviously we are going to be expecting a performance from these guys on Friday," Smith told getbracknell.com. "Winning is a habit. Sevens is a good opportunity to improve conditioning and for guys to practise their skills."
London Wasps complete the line-up for Friday and they have named a youthful group of players. Chris Mayor is the most experienced player in a selection that also features fellow first-teamers Sam Jones, Jack Wallace and Matt Everard.
The four teams will hope to replicate the Falcons' success last year © Getty Images
Harlequins: Dave Ward, Will Skinner (c), Luke Wallace, Sam Smith, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Ross Chisholm, Ben Botica, Seb Stegmann, Miles Mantella, Henry Taylor, Louis Grimoldby, Jordan Burns
London Irish : Alex Gray, Chris Hala'ufia, Shane Geraghty, Tom Homer, Topsy Ojo, Michael Worrincy, Gerard Ellis, Darren Allinson, Steven Shingler, Tomás O'Leary, Conor Gaston, Sailosi Tagicakibau
London Wasps: Sam Jones, Matt Everard, Derek Asbun, Jonah Holmes, Jack Wallace, Chris Mayor, Sean Morris, Danny Wells, Liam O'Neil, Will Robinson, Mitchell Tamiau, Jono Woodward
Saracens: Jackson Wray, Jono Ross, Will Fraser, George Kruis, Duncan Taylor, Ali Price, Ben Spencer, Nils Mordt (c), Kameli Ratuvou, James Short, Nathan Earle, James Stephenson
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 EMEA Ltd
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