Sarries look to kick-start campaign
July 21, 2011
Saracens hope the likes of USA international Chris Wyles will inspire them to a second successive Sevens crown © Getty Images
The battle for the 2011 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series continues at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night.
Saracens are out to lay down a marker to the other Premiership sides in the competition after they won the inaugural competition - defeating the Newcastle Falcons in the final in 2010. Sarries' win last August started a remarkable year as they ended up taking their first Premiership crown at Twickenham in May.
Harlequins have set the benchmark for the remaining eight Premiership sides after winning the opening event of the Sevens Series last Friday, with hosts Bath qualifying for the finale at the Stoop on points difference.
In typical Sevens Series fashion, all four sides for the second round - Northampton, Saracens, Gloucester and London Wasps - have named youthful line-ups with the odd experienced face expected to grace Northampton Saints' turf in front of the ESPN cameras.
Saracens have included US Eagles international Chris Wyles in their 12-man squad and following surgery over the summer England Sevens international Nils Mordt will coach the young side. Their squad also includes James Short - who crossed the line for Sarries in the Premiership final - and club centurion Rodd Penney.
The side will be captained by Jackson Wray, who hopes opportunities like Friday night will catapult his name into contention for a shot at the Saracens first-team.
Hosts Northampton - who won this stage last season at Franklin's Gardens - will be captained by winger Scott Armstrong, who is one of three players in the squad to have tasted first team action for the Saints - the others being academy coach Mark Hopley and scrum-half Ryan Glynn. They are joined in the 12-man party by faces who will be familiar to those who have watched Northampton's second-string - the Wanderers - ply their trade in the Aviva 'A' League.
Glynn - who captained the side in 2010 - hopes home support carries the young Saints side across the line come Friday night. "It will be nice to get a ball in our hands and chuck it around playing some sevens," the 19-year-old said. "Winning last season was a big boost for our confidence and we won't be taking it lightly again this season. Some of the guys are coming into their first year so to get their first opportunity at home, in front of a good crowd is fantastic."
Meanwhile, London Wasps have opted for a blend of youth and experience for Friday's showpiece. Former Saints centre Chris Mayor will appear in a Wasps shirt for the first-time on his old stomping ground and will play alongside fellow new boy Ryan Davis. Other notable inclusions include England Sevens international Alex Cheesman, who has recently rejoined the Adams Park side on a one-year contract.
Gloucester's squad is predominantly made up with representatives from Hartpury College although there is a familar face as Dan Robson appears for the Cherry and Whites. Robson appeared in the tournament last year and turned out for the England Under-20s during their run to the Junior World Championship final. He is joined by fellow academy representatives Gareth Evans, Rob Langley and new recruit Ian Clark.
Group B fixtures:
Gloucester 7s v Northampton Saints 7s (19.30) (BST)
Gloucester Rugby squad:
Olly Robinson, Reuben Haile, Gareth Evans, Rob Langley, Kobus du Rand, Waylon Gasson, Mark Woodrow, Ian Clark, Dan Robson, Ryan Brend, Fred Burdon, Kyle Palm
London Wasps squad:
Joe Burton, Alex Cheesman, Charlie Ingalls, Jonah Holmes, Ryan Davis, Chris Mayor, Jack Wallace, Will Robinson, Mitchell Tamiau, Joseph Tariperiajua, Christopher Lewis, Stuart Bailey
Northampton Saints squad:
Sam Farmer, Jamie Warr, Ethan Waller, Darrell Dyer, Mark Hopley, Anders Mogensen, Charlie Sadler, Scott Armstrong (capt), Alex Day, Ryan Glynn, Tom Collins, Jordan Husband
Jackson Wray (capt), Scott Spurling, Will Fraser, Tom Jubb, Matt Hankin, Rodd Penney, Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, Marcus Watson, Chris Wyles, James Short, Ben Ransom, Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues)
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