Newport Gwent Dragons fly-half Angus O’Brien is a man on a mission this summer, hell-bent on helping his side defend their Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series crown.
The Dragons produced a memorable performance during the 2015 final, claiming a last-gasp win to lift the trophy thanks to a score from Harri Keddie as they beat a star-studded Wasps side that included England wing Christian Wade.
Momentum for any side is important ahead of busy campaign in the Guinness PRO12 and O’Brien, who is 21 and has played previously for Cross Keys, is desperate to make his mark as he looks to build on a handful of senior first team starts for the Dragons.
O’Brien is positive that his side can embrace the pressure of having a target on their backs as defending champions when their campaign kicks off at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on 22 July.
“I think we all want the same thing, we want to win, we have got great experience in the squad,” said O’Brien.
“We have guys that have represented Wales and played 7s for a long time. They will help carry us through.
“It is good to go into the season having played some sevens. The last two years we have done well to get out of the Cardiff leg against the other Welsh regions.
“We have reached the final both times, last year winning the final was great for us and there was a great buzz around the club when we won, it can only benefit us.
“I really enjoy the 7s, I have been lucky enough to go on a few tours with the Wales squad and also playing in the last two Singha 7s tournaments, it gives boys opportunities to express themselves going forward.
“It is incredibly tough in defence, but you get a lot of time on the ball and there is a lot of space so you can show your attacking skills.
“We had a nice few weeks off and we’re just filling the lungs back up now.
“7s is great for pre-season, it is tough on the lungs and the legs, and helps test your fitness levels a bit.”
O’Brien also has one eye on establishing himself with the Dragons ahead of the new season and the Dragons youngster revealed there is no better shop window to impress than the Singha 7s.
“It is a great opportunity to test ourselves against the calibre of players the Aviva Premiership Rugby teams put out,” he added. “The academy lads get to represent the Dragons in a senior environment and are always raring to go. We know this is our opportunity to impress.”
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