Brett Deacon believes the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series at Kingston Park is the perfect opportunity for his exciting Leicester Tigers’ youngsters to shine under intense pressure.
Academy head coach Deacon has named an exciting squad to take on Sale Sharks, Worcester Warriors and Newcastle Falcons in Group D at Kingston Park on Saturday.
Tigers’ youngest-ever Aviva Premiership Rugby player Ben White captains the squad, with Jordan Olowofela – who played in last year’s Singha 7s – and Freddie Tuilagi also set to feature.
And Deacon, who made 135 top-flight appearances for Tigers, reckons the white-hot pressure at Kingston Park is the best environment for his starlets to flourish.
“It is much more pressure, they are bigger stadiums and you are playing against other Premiership Rugby teams, you pull on your club’s shirt and come up against other teams and have to hold up your badge,” said former back-row Deacon.
“For me it is about development for these young guys, we are going there to perform well as a collective and if we win games and go through to the final then that is brilliant.
“The pressure is on these youngsters to perform well in this competition, but their development is the primary goal.
“For me, the fact that they have to execute those skills under massive fatigue and continue to replicate them as they get more and more tired is one of the most important things.
“That is something that everyone struggles with and it is not just passing or catching, it is getting your head up, looking for space and talking to each other.”
Captain White – who came off the bench at Welford Road against Harlequins last season at 17 years and 151 days – faces stiff competition from fellow scrum-half Harry Simmons, with Deacon relishing the budding rivalry. Deacon also has his eye on speedster Olowofela, who he believes can build on last year’s appearance in the Singha 7s.
“Harry has played a lot of schools rugby and I think he will be tested out and there is Ben too – both of them play No.9 and are the same age, and the competition between them should be quite fierce,” said Deacon.
“Jordan played last year, which was maybe a bit too soon for him, but hopefully this year will perform very well. He is a guy with serious pace and we want to see that.
“It is a great competition for our senior academy guys who are moving through from schools and academy rugby.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s continues on Friday at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton and Saturday at Kingston Park, Newcastle with the Series Finals at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets