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Singha 7s ready to unearth next crop of international stars

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There is just one month to go until the next crop of Aviva Premiership Rugby hopefuls take to the field for the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final at the Ricoh Arena.

And with no fewer than 25 players having made the jump all the way to international XVs after featuring in the tournament, those that shine this term can be reassured that they are already on the path to greatness.
 
The starlets need look no further than host side Wasps, with centre Elliot Daly helping the side all the way to last season’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final where they lost in the last seconds of the game to Newport Gwent Dragons.
 
The 23-year-old went on to make his England debut a matter of months later against Ireland during the RBS 6 Nations, and notched up the latest of his five caps so far in the Red Rose’s remarkable series victory in Australia last month.
 
Daly was certainly not the only man in Eddie Jones’ history-making squad to play in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s before playing international rugby, with the likes of Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Kruis, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson, Jack Clifford, Ollie Devoto, Marland Yarde, and Teimana Harrison all on the plane Down Under.
 
This golden generation of England players have all taken part in the season-opening 7s showcase since its inception in 2010, with Farrell winning the first-ever tournament with Saracens six years ago.
 
Indeed 16 England internationals in total represented their clubs at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s before their debut, amassing 194 caps between them.
 
Jack Clifford, also a former England 7s representative during the 2014 World Series, says it is the perfect stepping stone for young players.
 
“It’s a good chance for young players. I remember I used it as something to look forward to during the summer and a chance to impress those watching,” said the 23-year-old.
 
“It is a great first chance of the new season to show the coaches what you can do after the summer, to show what you are about.
 
“Mainly though it’s just a great opportunity to get a bit of rugby in your legs and throw the ball around in front of a brilliant crowd.”
 
It is not just English players that have taken their opportunity in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s, with international stars also going onto play for Wales, Scotland, USA, Spain and Romania.
 
“It’s a really good tournament. When I played I really enjoyed it,” said Worcester Warriors’ Scotland fly-half Tom Heathcote.
 
“It’s a great chance for the young guys to show what they can do. To get their chance to represent their first team is a great opportunity.
 
“They will be playing on TV and get a real flavour for what the first team is all about, and with all the coaches watching as well they can really impress.”
 
It is an exciting time for rugby 7s with the sport about to leap into the limelight in its first appearance at the Olympic Games since 1924.
 
Aviva Premiership Rugby leads the way when it comes to club 7s, and after this year's Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series kicks off in Cardiff, it will visit Exeter, Northampton and Newcastle. Then comes the showpiece final in Coventry on 7 August, and with the final taking place the day after the Olympic 7s kicks-off, expect to see the biggest Singha Premiership Rugby 7s crowd yet at the Ricoh Arena.
 
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
 
Players who went on to make their international XVs debut after playing in the Singha 7s:
 

NAME COUNTRY CAPS
George Kruis EN 18
Stephen Hihetah RO 6
Kieran Low SC 5
Owen Farrell EN 43
Jack Clifford EN 8
Tommy Taylor EN 1
George Ford EN 26
Henry Thomas EN 7
Hamish Watson SC 2
Jake Carter SPAI 6
Jack Nowell EN 18
Tom Heathcote SC 3
Henry Slade EN 2
Anthony Watson EN 24
Matt Kvesic EN 3
Duncan Taylor SC 18
Jonny May EN 19
Ross Moriarty WA 9
Freddie Burns EN 5
Ollie Devoto EN 1
Marland Yarde EN 9
Joel Tomkins EN 3
Tom Bliss US 1
Teimana Harrison EN 2
Elliot Daly EN 5

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