Newcastle Falcons’ coach Mark Laycock believes the pressure of the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s gives young players an opportunity to shine on the big stage.
The Singha 7s returns to Kingston Park this summer as host venue for Group D at 3pm on 30 July.
After qualifying for the Series Final in every Premiership Rugby 7s they have played in, Falcons’ fans may get to see some new young faces proving themselves at Kingston Park again this campaign.
“The young players will be getting the exposure they need on this stage,” said Laycock.
“It is really important as they get a chance to play in front of big crowds. It brings them that added pressure and teaches them new skills.
“The likes of Simon Hammersley and Chris Harris have played previously and are now doing really well.”
The emergence of Callum Chick – who scored a try in England Under-20s 45-21 final victory against their Irish counterparts in the World Rugby Under-20s Championship Final – gives other Falcons’ youngsters hope and Laycock says that players should take inspiration from him.
Chick, who signed a professional contract with Falcons at the end of the 2014-15 season, started his first season of professional rugby as the captain of the 7s team.
“He is a very good leader and has been for a number of years now,” added Laycock.
“He has got that exposure in the first team and that’s what you need and now he is a World U20s Champion.
“I am happy with how things are going, he is working very hard and is striving to get better and better.
“He is definitely a role model for younger players.”
Premiership Rugby 7s winners in 2011, last campaign Falcons reached the Series Final before losing to Exeter Chiefs in the Plate semi-final. This year they will be hoping to progress further.
The tournament is the only 7s competition in which all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs and the four Welsh professional regions participate.
Laycock added: “It is brilliant to be a host club and it is great to play 7s in front of our home fans as it means a lot to them and is a good way to start the season.
“I am very much looking forward to the start of it. It’s about now when everyone starts to get that buzz about it.
“Everyone is more aware of it now and it’s very exciting and that’s because it gets tougher and tougher each year.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July at Cardiff Arms Park with Group D on 30 July in Newcastle and the Finals at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets