Exeter Chiefs’ production line is fast becoming world-renowned and Sam Simmonds says the Sandy Park faithful will witness another glimpse into the future at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series this Saturday.
Exeter play host to a tantalising Group B, as Bath Rugby, Bristol Rugby and Wasps all do battle in the south west – with the top two progressing to the Series Final at the Ricoh Arena on 7 August.
And it’s likely that some of the players who appear on the Sandy Park turf will progress to earn the highest honours in the game, as 25 Aviva Premiership Rugby players have gone onto represent their country after appearing at the Singha 7s.
Henry Slade and Jack Nowell are just two examples for Exeter’s next generation to aspire to and Simmonds, who is skippering the 7s side, has already taken a step in their direction.
The back-row has LV=Cup experience under his belt and knows that this is his and many others’ chance to lay down an early marker ahead of the new Aviva Premiership Rugby season.
“Jack and Henry have been in the same position as me, so I think that everyone in Saturday’s 7s team has to think ‘it can be done’,” said the 21-year-old.
“We can go on and become first team players after impressing here like Jack and Henry and even go on to play international rugby.
“The 7s is a stepping stone to us doing great things. There is no reason why we can’t put our hands up.
“It is great to have them around, watching what they do on a Saturday and even seeing what they do off the pitch.
“Their skill is always up there, they are always the best players in training. We can only try and look at that and put that into our own game.”
Exeter have pedigree at the Singha 7s, reaching last year’s Series Final and scooping up the Plate after defeating Sale Sharks 26-19.
Skills’ coach Ricky Pellow and wing Matt Jess – who will also be playing – are helping to mastermind this year’s charge and Simmonds says the Sandy Park backing will give Exeter a big advantage.
“We don’t want to play too much in the middle, we want to move the ball to the wings so we need quick ball from the rucks,” added Simmonds.
“We won’t be attacking in the middle because that is where so many teams are strong, so it is all about moving it from one side to the other.
“It is not win or bust, it is a stepping stone but you never go onto the pitch not wanting to win. This year we are more experienced and can really have a crack at winning it.
“The crowd, hopefully, will go mental when we walk out. It uplifts you, and gives you that extra boost. When you score tries and make big tackles, the reception gets insane.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July at Cardiff Arms Park with the Finals at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets