Wasps have finalised their 12 man squad for Group C of the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s, which will be hosted at the Ricoh Arena this Friday, 21 August (KO 7.15pm).
After weeks of pre-season fitness, Wasps’ winger Christian Wade is relishing getting his hands on a ball and testing the wide expanses of the new pitch at the Ricoh Arena, against strong opposition in Harlequins, Northampton Saints and Saracens.
Wade, who enjoyed a year on the England 7s circuit, said: "When I was younger, 7s was a good way for me to show what I could do against some first team players, in terms of my speed and agility, and improve my skills as well.
"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. There’s more space and opportunity for you to use your speed, footwork, and some handling stuff as well."
Wasps have only made the Finals of the 7s Series once, in 2011, but are aiming to improve on that record this year and have selected a squad that features 11 members of the Wasps Senior Squad and one member of Wasps senior academy, centre Conor Dolan, who is set to make his senior debut. Another senior academy player, Owain James will be a travelling reserve.
New signings Dan Robson (ex-Gloucester), Brendan Macken (ex-Leinster) and Alex Rieder (ex-Rotherham) will also make their Wasps debuts at the Ricoh Arena this Friday.
Guy Thompson, who has previous experience as a member of the England 7s squad, will captain the side and is looking forward to running out at the Ricoh:
"We’re all excited about running back out at the Ricoh for a competitive game, after a lot of conditioning over pre- season. It will be a great opportunity for us to put into practice the fitness we've done.
"It’s an opportunity to test our fitness with ball in hand. For me, it's great, because it's a bit of contact as well – 7s is becoming more about contact now. We just want to give a good account of ourselves really and hopefully entertain the crowd along the way with a few tries."
The Ricoh Arena will host a packed evening’s entertainment for both sports fans and music fans, as the 7s action is followed by a Ministry of Sound After Party, with Danny Howard from BBC Radio 1 taking to the decks in the Jaguar Indoor Arena (for over 18s only). Supporters are encouraged to sport neon colours during the 7s for a party atmosphere at the Ricoh Arena.
"There’s such a buzz around Singha 7s," added Wade. "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 has been a great venue for us so far and hopefully everyone will come down for 7s too."
Thompson added: "It is just a great evening out for all sports fans. Anyone who is at a loose end should come down and have a look. Come in fancy dress if you’d like. If you're over 18 come and have a few beers, if you're under 18 come and see the events and games that are going on outside.
"It's going to be a great event. It will give people the opportunity to watch rugby for the first time if they haven't before – they'll have a great time.
"The Ricoh Arena is a great stadium, with something going on for everyone from 6pm. And for the adults who can still hack it towards the end of the night, they can enjoy the after party as well! A test of your fitness on and off the field!"
Wasps’ 12 man squad for Singha 7s
1. Jamie Stevenson
2. Elliot Daly
3. Christian Wade
4. Conor Dolan
5. Alex Rieder
6. Sam Jones
7. Thomas Young
8. Guy Thompson ©
9. Dan Robson
10. Alex Lozowski
11. Josh Bassett
12. Brendan Macken
Singha 7s timings at the Ricoh Arena on Friday 21 August:
19:00 Entertainment will be underway in the stadium bowl
19:15 Wasps v Harlequins
19:40 Saracens v Northampton Saints
20:10 Saracens v Harlequins
20:35 Wasps v Northampton Saints
21:05 Harlequins v Northampton Saints
21:30 Wasps v Saracens
22:00 The Ministry of Sound After Party in the Jaguar Indoor Arena (Doors open from 2130)
Tickets for the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s on Friday 21 August (7pm) cost £10 for adult and £5 for under 18s, with a special 7s & After Party package for Over 18s priced at £15.
Alternatively, tickets to attend the After Party are priced at £10 for Over 18s only.
To book tickets and for more information visit www.wasps.co.uk or call 02476 786423.