The second leg of the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series will take place at Sandy Park in Exeter on Saturday with a blend of young talent, international stars and 7s specialists on show.
Hosts Exeter have shown over the years just how important a development tool the Singha 7s can be, with the likes of England duo Jack Nowell and Henry Slade both previous members of Chiefs’ teams.
Having reached their maiden Aviva Premiership Rugby Final last season, the future seems bright for Exeter, and they have put together a squad with a number of players who could play a leading part in the coming years.
7s coach Ricky Pellow highlighted Max Bodilly, the promising full-back who broke into both domestic and European squads last season, as proof of what a strong performance can do.
He said: “You only have to take Max Bodilly for example, he played in the tournament last year, he went down to the Pirates, but come the end of the season he was very much part of the first team squad and pushing hard for a place in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe.”
Bodilly will be one of the older heads in the team this year, although Matt Jess provides even greater experience.
Sam Skinner, who scored five tries in last year’s tournament over the groups and the Series Final day, is back in the fold while Sam Simmonds leads the squad – which also features his brother Joe.
With the Singha 7s final taking place at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August, Wasps have every incentive to perform, and when it comes to international pedigree, they are way out in front.
Between All Black Frank Halai, Scotland stalwart Nick De Luca – who will make his first appearance for the club – and the experienced Rob Miller, Wasps clearly mean business.
7s coach Matt Davies is optimistic that the international experience will serve Wasps well. He said: “We have some good experience of 7s in this group, with the likes of Frank Halai, Nick De Luca and Tom Howe all having represented their countries in the shortened version of the game, and we hope those guys will bring a lot to the squad.
“But we also have some very talented first team players and some exciting young members of the Senior Academy, who will all need to come together on Saturday if we are going to be successful.”
Josh Bassett will lead the team, having helped Wasps reach the final last season, with Brendan Macken and Alex Rieder also returning from that group.
Bath’s Singha 7s challenge will be spearheaded by a pair of age group international fly-halves from either side of Hadrian’s Wall.
Rory Jennings was part of the England Under-20s side that reached the World Championship Final last year, while Adam Hastings featured in the event this year for Scotland.
Hastings is of course the son of former Scotland and Lions captain Gavin and is one of four players who returns to the Bath squad from a year ago.
He is joined by Darren Atkins, Alex Humfrey and Zach Mercer in that returning quartet as Bath look to improve on their third-place finish in the group stage last season.
Jennings, meanwhile, will captain the side, as Bath look to reach the finals day for the first time since 2012.
Bristol make their return to Aviva Premiership Rugby after a seven-year absence, and as a result will make their debut in the Singha 7s this season.
Back in 2012 London Welsh topped their group in their first taste of 7s action, and Bristol will be looking to do the same as they step into the unknown.
Academy coach Sean Marsden has named a young squad, and will be hoping a pair of brothers, Mike and Andy Uren, and Elias and Ezra Caven, can make an impact.
Captain Auguy Slowik brings plenty of 7s experience, having previously won the Rosslyn Park 7s alongside, among others, Rio-bound Team GB member Alex Davis.
He will be looking to bring all that experience to the squad for their trip down the M5.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July at Cardiff Arms Park and 23 July at Sandy Park, Exeter with the Series Finals at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets
Statistics provided by Stuart Farmer Media Services