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Wasps’ Olympic hopeful Joe Simpson grateful for 2015 Singha 7s opportunity

Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson will take his Singha Premiership Rugby 7s skills onto the global stage if he competes in the Olympics for Team GB this year.

If successful, Simpson will be among a number of Singha Premiership Rugby 7s alumni present, highlighting once again how the tournament prepares top players for the biggest events in rugby.

Rio 2016 is set to feature rugby sevens for the first time, 92 years after rugby was last involved in the Games and Simpson is part of the Team GB training squad preparing for Brazil.

The Singha 7s tournament, held just before the Aviva Premiership Rugby season kicks off, gives players a chance to get up to scratch and develop their attacking game, and it is renowned for young players bursting onto the scene and forcing their way into the XVs side.

Simpson played in the 2015 Singha Premiership Rugby 7s for Wasps along with the likes of Elliot Daly, Christian Wade and Dan Robson.

Daly and Wade enjoyed fine domestic seasons, which led to an international call-up for Daly with England.

And scrum-half Simpson, who is also capped by England, points to his experience in the Singha 7s as a key reason for his impressive season with Wasps.

“It is a tough old game, it is completely different to the XVs in many aspects, but as someone who likes to think they are fairly quick I gave it a go,” the 27-year-old said.

“I was lucky enough to represent England a few times and in a few tournaments and that is one of my early career highlights for me.

“Simon Amor has done a great job and they have really pushed on and you see the popularity of 7s rise to the Twickenham 7s. I was in the crowd for that match.

“The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series is a fantastic opportunity for anyone, especially young players looking  to break through and I am always excited to see how the young Wasps players get on.”

Former Worcester Warrior Richard de Carpentier is another in the Team GB 7s training camp and is no stranger to the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s.

Worcester Warriors first competed in the tournament in 2011 and reached the series finals under de Carpentier, who was named player of the round in the group stages, in 2013.

De Carpentier became a contracted England 7s player for the 2015-16 season and he is looking to fulfil his Rio ambitions.

After last year's Singha 7s, outside centre Daly was one of the biggest benefactors of the competition, as he started the XVs season on fire and was thrust straight into Eddie Jones’ England squad.

“The 7s is always a different kind of thing to the XVs; it gives you a whole different focus in pre-season and improves your fitness too so it's been a good experience,” said Daly.

"This kind of rugby gives you the core skills that you need to excel. You have to be good on your tackling, passing, one-on-ones, and it eases you into the season.”

The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July with the Finals at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit http://www.premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets

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