Wasps winger Christian Wade used 7s rugby as a springboard for his career, and believes that some of his side’s other young guns can do the same during this year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s.
Wasps will have home advantage when the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series comes to the Ricoh Arena on Friday August 21 as they play host to Northampton Saints, Saracens and Harlequins.
And Wade, one of a number of senior players alongside some of the younger charges in the squad, can’t wait to try and propel Wasps beyond the group stages for the first time since 2011.
“Back in the day, 7s was a good way for me to show what I could do up against some first team players in terms of my speed and agility, and improve my skills as well,” said the ex-England Sevens winger.
“It’s a great way for some of the young guys to do the same, because there are fewer players on the park but it’s still a full-sized pitch.
“Some of the new academy guys like Conor Dolan and Owain James are really good to watch, but there’s a few other guys I haven’t seen play 7s so it’s exciting to make our first outing as a new Wasps set-up and compete.
“There’s more space and opportunity for you to use your speed, footwork, and some handling stuff as well.
“It fits into our preseason really well in that sense because it’s very fitness-based.
“It also highlights your core skills: your passing has to be a lot more accurate, your lines of running, your work at the breakdown, everything is under pressure.
“Although there aren’t the same numbers it’s still a pretty physical game, with plenty of one-on-one tackles, and if you miss one you’re most likely going to concede a try.
“It gets your lungs open. Sometimes it’s difficult to get the game fitness you need in a 15-a-side match, so Singha 7s is a great chance for us to do that.”
And with Ministry of Sound DJ Danny Howard booked for the after party, the atmosphere at the Ricoh Arena promises to be electric.
“There’s such a buzz around Singha 7s,” added Wade. “For the players, it’s something a bit different and it takes you away from running loads and doing weights and gives you that competitive edge. It’s something we look forward to.
“For the fans, there’s a big party afterwards and it’s a really fast game to watch. It’s going to be a great day.
“The Ricoh Arena too which has been a great venue for us in the last season, and hopefully everyone will come down for 7s.”
“Previously we haven’t done so well in the 7s, mainly because our focus has been on the 15s side of things, but now, with a bigger coaching staff and a bigger squad, we’re using the 7s as an opportunity to prepare, and a chance for players to stake a claim and show what they can do.
“This year we’ve put in a stronger side and I hope we can do a bit better than we have done in the past.”