TOP BAR - Fixtures

Northampton Saints eager to kick off season in style – Lewis Ludlam

Lewis Ludlam is relishing the responsibility of getting Northampton Saints off to the best possible start this season at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series on Friday.

Saints had a fairly modest season by their own high standards last term, finishing fifth in Aviva Premiership Rugby and exiting the European Rugby Champions Cup at the quarter-final stages but 19-year-old flanker Ludlam insists now is the best possible time to bounce back, with the club's up-and-coming talent tasked with launching their assault on silverware this season in the Singha 7s.

And with Northampton hosting Friday’s Group C at Franklin’s Gardens, where Saracens, Harlequins and Gloucester Rugby will be in town, Ludlam is desperate to get Saints off to a flyer.

“Silverware is silverware, and it's always important to win trophies whenever the opportunity comes around,” said Ludlam.

“Going into the XVs season as well, a win here would be great for team morale. When you are winning as a team you feel good, you play good, and we have a responsibility to get us off to a good start.

“We are all close as a group but it’s important in 7s that you are all on the same page and all doing the same thing, so we’ll be sure to get a few hard days work in this week and hopefully we will be flying in time for Friday.

“There are sure to be some silky feet from some of our guys, and a bit of showboating as well, so there are bound to be lots of tries to make it a great event.”

For Ludlam, this will be his first taste of Singha 7s rugby, although he has already represented Saints at the Bury St Edmunds 7s competition.

And after scoring several tries in that tournament, Ludlam wants to be one of the men to inspire Northampton to the Series Final on 7 August at the Ricoh Arena and beyond to their first ever Singha 7s title.

He added: “Playing in the Singha 7s will be class. It’s a fantastic event every time it comes here with lots of tries and the crowd really get excited about that.

“Back row like me are generally forwards that want to be backs as well, so when we get the chance to chuck the ball around a bit we get quite excited!

“It makes a nice change from XVs rugby and it is a real chance for us to put our names out there on a bigger stage than usual.”

The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s continues on Friday at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton and Saturday at Kingston Park, Newcastle with the Series Finals at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets

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