Academy Manager Patrick O’Grady believes the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s is the perfect platform for London Irish’s next generation to shine.
O’Grady, 30, who has taken part in the current format of the 7s series on two occasions, will head up this year’s Exiles team during the two-day festival at Northampton Saints’ Franklin’s Gardens.
Relishing the prospect of leading his charges in front of the BT Sport cameras on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 July, O’Grady said: “The competition is a great opportunity for our youngsters to show what they can do in front of the TV cameras as well as the big crowd.
“A few of our players will have only just left school so for them it will be a great occasion and what better time to get their first taste of professional rugby.”
Irish lifted the 7s title in 2012 with a 31-29 victory over Gloucester in the final at the Rec, with a number of players having since gone on to gain international honours in the 15-aside game.
“The 7s can provide our youngsters with a springboard to get their rugby playing careers up and running,” O’Grady continued.
“We don’t just have backs who can play 7s rugby, we also have a number of talented forwards who not only have the ability to get around the pitch, but also have an excellent skillset.”
Revealing what we can expect from the Exiles’ team, O’Grady believes the second year Academy players are more than ready for the competition thanks to their exposure to first team rugby last term.
“Those lads in the second year Academy have a distinct advantage as they were given their chance in the first team on a number of occasions last season,” said O’Grady.
“Their skillset and conditioning is far beyond what it was more than a year ago. It would be nice to do well, but we’re purely looking at performance with a view to seeing where the boys might end up long-term.”
Irish have been handed games against Harlequins and Gloucester, two sides that have been synonymous with 7s success in recent years.
O’Grady said: “Quins and Gloucester are always in the mix in the latter stages, but there’s no reason why we can’t do well and we’re all looking forward to the trip up to Northampton.”
For Singha Premiership 7s tickets and information, please visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7s
Be part of the London Irish family with a 2017/18 Season Membership. Great value from £295 for adults and under 13s are free for 18 home games and so much more.
Visit www.london-irish.com/membership or call 0118 968 1016 to find out more.