If host club Cardiff Blues need some motivation for this year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series, they need look no further than centre Cory Allen according to coach Richard Hodges.
The 23-year-old Wales international is currently training with the GB7s squad with the hope of getting selected for the side heading to Rio for this summer’s Olympic Games.
Allen is a prime example of a man who has used the 7s format to launch an extremely promising rugby career, playing for the Wales national sevens squad on the 2012-13 World Series before going on to represent his country in XVs at both Under-20 and full international level.
The highlight of his time in the Wales jersey has to be the hat-trick he scored during the Rugby World Cup before he was cruelly denied any further involvement in the tournament after a nasty hamstring injury.
But with Cardiff Blues taking to the field in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series in less than a month’s time, Hodges believes the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park youngsters should be looking at Allen’s 7s background for inspiration.
“Cory Allen is of course trying to get himself an Olympic spot at the moment, and the club are 100 per cent behind him,” said Hodges.
“When Cory first mentioned it to Danny Wilson he was extremely supportive from the first minute, so we are all hoping and praying that he manages to secure a spot for what will be the trip of a lifetime.
“He made a huge impact when he was on the 7s circuit – everyone remembers the Hong Kong final against Fiji [in 2013] when he pretty much beat them single-handedly in the first half, but then they won it on the buzzer.
“He’s a very talented player who can offer a lot of versatility in the 7s, playing on the wing, at centre and at prop if he makes that final squad.
“Cory’s always had a desire to keep his hand in at 7s, even if he has been very successful in recent months in the XV-a-side game. That is something our guys at Cardiff can look at.
“He scored a first-half hat-trick at the Rugby World Cup but then got a cruel injury, and 7s has always been a part of who he is – this opportunity may never come around again.
“So he’ll be determined to give it his best shot. Based on what he did for the Wales set-up I’m sure he can be a key man for GB.
“It’s a very talented training squad, but Cory is certainly someone they could build the group around.”
It is an exciting time for rugby 7s with the sport about to leap into the limelight in its first appearance at the Olympic Games since 1924.
Premiership Rugby leads the way when it comes to club 7s, and Cardiff will host the first leg of this year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series next month.
And after this year's competition kicks off in Wales, it will visit Exeter, Northampton and Newcastle before the showpiece final in Coventry on 7 August.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July at Cardiff Arms Park with the Finals at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets