Northampton Saints’ prop Ethan Waller believes the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s continues to help provide the foundations for players like him to flourish at senior level.
Like so many young players in this country, Waller cut his teeth at senior level in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s before going on to represent his club in Aviva Premiership Rugby and the European Champions Cup.
And the 23-year-old, who has made 71 appearances for the Saints in all competitions since his debut in 2012, believes the exposure provided by Singha Premiership Rugby 7s was critical to his development.
Waller said: “I have played a few times in the Singha 7s and as a young lad coming through that kind of experience is invaluable: playing in front of the big crowd.
“It is not XV-man rugby but it gives you a sense of the occasion and helps to ease your way in to professional rugby.
“You see quite a few of the players in the tournament are very young and it allows them to get to grips with playing in front of the crowd.”
This year is arguably the biggest in 7s history as it makes its Olympic debut in Brazil later this summer, with rugby union returning to the Games for the first time since 1924.
The Aviva Premiership leads the way when it comes to club 7s and this year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series will kick off in Cardiff before visiting Exeter Chiefs, Northampton and Newcastle Falcons, with the Series Final at the Ricoh Arena.
Group C will be hosted at Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens on Friday 29 July and will see Gloucester Rugby, Harlequins, the Saints and Saracens look to secure a spot in the title-deciding competition on Saturday 6 August.
And Waller has told fans not to miss out on all the action, with some of the rising stars of English rugby set to grace the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series this summer.
“You will see a lot of good finishing in Singha Premiership Rugby 7s and speed is essential – so it wasn’t my greatest showcase,” Waller joked.
“But there is a lot of talent on show and a lot backs with a lot of space to show what they can do.
“From a coaching point of view it will help them to identify the players who can make the step up. If you perform well there then it is a stepping stone to becoming a regular in the first team squad.”
Tickets for the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series are now on sale at premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets