Billy Meakes and Henry Purdy went from 7s stars to first-team mainstays for Gloucester Rugby last term and team-mate Henry Trinder has backed Steph Reynolds to use this year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series as a similar launching pad.
Gloucester have emerged triumphant from the last two editions of the Premiership Rugby 7s Series – clinching the title last year with a 12-5 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons in the final.
Meakes, Purdy and Reynolds all starred in that 7s triumph, with the former two going on to make a significant impact as the Cherry & Whites won the European Rugby Challenge Cup and finished ninth in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Meakes and Purdy ended up making 27 league appearances between them and with Gloucester beginning this year’s Singha 7s campaign at Kingsholm on August 20, Trinder is convinced speedster Reynolds is set for the same trajectory.
“People like Billy Meakes and Henry Purdy have played in the competition and then pushed on to play a crucial part in our season,” said Trinder.
“The emphasis is on younger players but you also throw some older players in there to see if they have still got it.
“He was involved last year but I would definitely say people should keep an eye out for Steph Reynolds – he’s very exciting.
“I’ve known him for a few years through the academy and he’s really come on recently. We had testing the other day and he beat Charlie Sharples over 100m.
“That’s kind of a big deal – everyone knows how fast Charlie is, so that shows the talent Steph has.
“Hopefully we can do a good job this season of making him showcase that talent, pushing on with his game and having a big contribution to our season in our XVs.”
Trinder is a man with plenty of 7s experience himself, having previously played for Gloucester in the Premiership 7s – his last appearance coming in 2012 when they lost 31-28 in the final to London Irish at the Rec.
The 26-year-old is now a regular in the Cherry & Whites’ XVs side and admits his experience in the shorter format of the game undoubtedly helped him get there.
“The last time I played was at the Rec where we lost into final to London Irish, so it wasn’t the best finish but it was great having that sort of exposure,” added Trinder.
“7s definitely helped my development. It focuses on your core values – you have to be able to pass, you’ve got the longer passes and then you’ve got one-on-one tackling as well.
“Since I’ve hung up my 7s boots, Gloucester have won it twice. It’s great to watch and we’ve had two legs at Kingsholm, which is great.
“Having that home crowd and getting the Shed roaring is great. It’s something we want to win again as defending champions and it has been a springboard for our younger players to showcase their talent early on.”
Tickets for the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series are now on sale. For full details see premiershiprugby.com/7s