Sevens rugby was where it all began for Alex Cuthbert and the Wales’ wing hopes his young Cardiff Blues team-mates make the most of their opportunity to shine at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series later this month.
The Blues are set to compete in the opening leg of the competition, going head-to-head with Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park in what promises to be a stellar night of action on 22 July.
And, mindful of where his journey began on the 7s World Series, 26-year-old Cuthbert has a clear message for those set to be involved this month.
“It was awesome for me, it was the first serious senior rugby I had as a youngster,” said Cuthbert, who shot to prominence with the Wales Sevens and has since toured with the British & Irish Lions in 2013.
“I was going from playing for Cardiff RFC to playing for Wales in Dubai against South Africa, the step-up was immense and the experience I gained from that was unbelievable.
“I had a great couple of years on the World Series and I love playing 7s in pre-season when I can.
“It was perfect for me in all aspects of the game, you can just transfer the skills from one to the other.
“The simple skills are extremely important, passing 20 yards, seeing space as a winger and having the footwork and the gas to go around someone.
“In the 15-a-side game, there is not so much space, but when you are in that closed environment and you need to put that pass away, make a tackle or go around someone, you see that in 7s.
“You get found out a lot more in 7s because there is so much space, but coaches can see those skills in young players playing 7s.
“We have had Cory Allen a couple of years ago and he is obviously still involved in the 7s environment with Great Britain and hopefully he gets selected for the Olympics.
“He has come on leaps and bounds since getting his caps for Wales and playing during the World Cup, he is a key figure here at the Blues.
“There are a couple of younger boys who are hopefully going to get into that squad, then push on into the first XV at Cardiff and become future internationals.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series continues in Exeter, Northampton and Newcastle before the end of the month where the top two teams in each Pool will advance to the Series Final.
The 7s Series Final is set to be played at the Ricoh Arena on 7 August and Cuthbert believes anyone who has not taken in 7s rugby previously will be pleasantly surprised.
“If you have never watched a game of 7s, then it is extremely exciting, you see a lot of fast people,” he added.
“It is the game to watch, there are a lot of big hits.
“Hopefully it will appeal to a worldwide audience during the Olympics and the profile of rugby will then go through the roof and the next World Cup will be even bigger than the last.”
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