Exeter Chiefs’ Matt Jess admitted he is loving life in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series fast-lane as his young side aim for more glory at the Ricoh Arena on August 7.
Jess played his first competitive 7s for nine years as Chiefs sealed three wins from three on home-turf, and secured a Series Finals spot in Coventry.
The 32-year-old wing has played in every one of Chiefs’ six top-flight seasons but has been refreshed by the high-quality Exeter youngsters who tore up the Sandy Park turf.
Sam Simmonds sealed Man of the Round for the South West leg, but Jess also highlighted Simmonds’ brother Joe, Max Bodilly, Pete Laverick and Ted Landry as rising stars in the Exeter ranks.
And Jess said he expected the young Chiefs’ to make their presence felt both in the Ricoh Arena Singha Premiership 7s Series Final and when the league kicks off in September.
“With their skill-sets, I can’t teach them anything, they already have that, it is just about trying to keep everything under control in each game,” Jess explained.
“These are boys who are using this as a stepping stone ready to go on to the 15s game, it is massively important to be here and playing in front of a really good home crowd.
“You have to let the youngsters off the leash a little bit because they have to feel their way into games, but what you can do is just use your experience, keep the communication up and when they start getting into a dark place and quietening down, you really have to drag them through.
“The level out there is massive, but competitions like the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s are a massive stepping stone for guys like myself, and the youngsters.”
Chiefs sealed top-spot at Sandy Park with a thrilling 26-19 win over Wasps and fittingly, both Simmonds brothers and Bodilly crossed for tries as the Exeter youngsters claimed an early-season scalp.
And Jess, who has over 100 Exeter appearances to his name, has his eyes on doing the double over Wasps when they travel to the Ricoh.
“It was an outstanding day for us and to clinch that group on our home patch is really good.
“The toughest match was Wasps, they got to 19-19 at one point and it was a case of who was going to break first, we managed to get Simmonds over for that crucial try which put us ahead.
“It is massive, you have all the support from the lads that aren’t playing, they are all behind you and to get some silverware to start the season with is great because it sets the stall out.
“When we go away to Wasps – we have them first game of the regular season too – we will be looking to show that we are the ones that come out firing.”
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