Harlequins centre Joe Marchant attributed his strong 2014-15 season to playing the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s – and believes the tournament is the perfect starting block for some of Quins’ young guns.
Marchant was part of the squad that made it through to the semi-finals in 2014, losing out at the Twickenham Stoop to Newport Gwent Dragons by just four points.
However, the England U-20s star overcame an early-season injury to make his Quins debut in May against Newcastle Falcons – an achievement he believes 7s made possible.
“The Singha 7s gave me a little bit of confidence to play exciting rugby which is what I love,” said Marchant, who will captain the Harlequins 7s squad this time around.
“It allowed me to let go and just express myself which was really good.
“The Singha 7s started off the season really well for me. It got me comfortable in the environment and it was my first big thing with Quins.”
And having had his first taste of 7s last year, Marchant is desperate to reacquaint himself with the fastest form of the game.
“It’s great to be playing again this year and to be captain,” Marchant added.
“I just enjoy playing, doing what we love and playing together with your mates is fantastic.
“The finals day at the Stoop was a great atmosphere last year. The fans were going mad, so it was a shame we couldn’t do them proud and go on to win the event. Hopefully this year we’ll be able to do it.
“If we get through the group stage it would be great for us to play at the Stoop in front of all of the people who want to come and see us play.
“I think the place will be buzzing – lots of people will be there and there will be lots of Quins jerseys, which will be nice.”
While further 7s success will certainly strengthen Marchant’s claims for first-team rugby, he accepts that he may still have to be patient.
“I didn’t start too well after 7s as I got injured straight off the bat but I came back and had a reasonable season,” Marchant said.
“I’m hoping to get a few first-team games this year and then also cement my place as a starting player for England U20s.”
Harlequins will host the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final at the Twickenham Stoop on 28 August. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children from premiershiprugby.com/singha7s/tickets