Wing Gabriel Ibitoye is relishing the prospect of taking on the country’s best teams when Harlequins arrive at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final in Coventry.
Ibitoye was part of the Harlequins’ squad that secured maximum points from their three Group C games against Gloucester Rugby, Northampton Saints and Saracens at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.
But the 18-year-old is expecting a much sterner test when his Quins’ team arrives at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday, where they will play hosts and Group B runners-up Wasps in the quarter-final.
“Next week should be really good against tougher opponents, so our skills will be really put to the test and it should be good fun,” Ibitoye said.
“It’s a good prospect, we always want to play against the best teams to develop as a team and as individuals so next week should hopefully push us to the next platform.
“It was really good fun out there, the boys were really alert and really physical, moved the ball into space well, and it’s good fun to get out there and blow away the preseason cobwebs.
“I’m really looking forward to the final; I think the boys are capable of winning out there so I really hope we get the win.”
Harlequins have qualified for the Series Finals in each of the last three Singha 7s competitions – two of which have been held at the Twickenham Stoop – but have yet to reach the final match to win the overall trophy.
Despite most Premiership Rugby players now being well into preseason training, Ibitoye admitted it was difficult to know exactly where the squad’s fitness and skills were going into the pool stage.
“I didn’t expect it really but the boys pulled together really well. We haven’t really played with each other much in the past but now we’re coming together and showing what we can do,” he said.
“The boys are doing well, they’ve worked hard in preseason and coming out here to the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series kept it ticking over nicely into the new campaign.
“I think we’ve got to come together as a team, analyse what we did well and what we need to work on.
“We’re going to do it on the training field; we just need to put time and effort into it and it’ll show next week in the finals.”
Eight teams will play for the first silverware of the season in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Finals from 2pm at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. Click here for tickets.
Quarter Final 1 – Cardiff Blues v Sale Sharks
Quarter Final 2 – Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints
Quarter Final 3 – Harlequins v Wasps
Quarter Final 4 – Newcastle Falcons v Ospreys