The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series has already proven itself as a key breeding ground for England stars with aspirations of competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Dan Bibby’s journey to the Games this summer began four years ago at the Premiership Rugby 7s Series when the 25-year-old showed what an ideal shop window the competition can be.
Then England coach Ben Ryan snapped him up after his eye-catching displays in the 2012 tournament – most notably at the Edgeley Park regional round for Sale Sharks – and since winning a full-time contract with England, Bibby has competed for his country across the globe.
Now he is putting his best foot forward to book his spot on the plane to Rio as part of Team GB’s 7s squad, with rugby union set to be featured at the Olympics for the first time in 92 years.
And after Bibby’s GB Lions outfit finished third at their first outing together in Moscow earlier this month, he believes the whole squad is really starting to click into gear.
“The first thing we wanted to do was create that Team GB environment in Moscow, and I really think we did that even if the results could have been a little bit better,” he said.
“For the first time since coming together we were pretty happy, and we were making plenty of good combinations and working well together.
“All the boys have bonded really well, coming in from different nations and different backgrounds, and even different codes with some of the XVs boys arriving.
“It’s a really tight-knit group already and a big part of that has been the banter flying around – we beat you here, you beat us there, that kind of thing. It’s been a lot of fun.
“But it’s very tough as well and we are all working really hard to get to where we want to be come August. “
The other GB squad in Moscow, the Royals, won the Plate final, and with so much talent in the 25-man Olympic training squad, Bibby admits the competition is fierce.
And with just 43 days left until the Olympics begin in Rio, the former Sale Sharks man is not expecting things to let up.
He added: “All the boys are pushing hard for selection and at the moment there’s probably about four players for each position.
“In training everyone is really pushing each other which hopefully will give us a bit of an edge. Even in the sessions that are meant to be lighter in the gym, boys are trying to push PBs.
“Everyone is showing how much they want it and how they are willing to work that extra bit harder to get there, and that will raise the standard of the whole squad.
“We haven’t got a long time at all now until we get on the pitch in Rio, so if you see someone doing a bit extra, a bit of kicking or something at the end of training, it spurs you on to do it as well as you don’t want to be left behind.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July with the Finals at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit http://www.premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets