Academy manager Matt Davies is determined to unleash the latest crop of Wasps young guns on this year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series as he looks to discover the next Christian Wade or Elliot Daly.
Wasps enjoyed a successful campaign in the shorter form of the game in 2015, narrowly losing to a last-minute try against the Newport Gwent Dragons in the final of the Singha 7s.
The Midlands-based club have a history of unleashing some of their biggest names on the competition; in previous years the likes of England internationals Joe Simpson, Wade and Daly have all appeared in the competition.
Wasps will begin their campaign at Sandy Park on July 23, where they will go head-to-head in a competitive group alongside Bath Rugby, Exeter Chiefs and Bristol.
And with the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series final being played at the Ricoh Arena – the home of Wasps – Davies is determined to see his side mount a serious challenge for silverware in the tournament.
“Ultimately, the Singha 7s gives young players an opportunity to show what they can do in a senior, competitive environment,” said Davies, speaking at the launch at the BT Tower.
“It is incredibly hard for young players because there are few opportunities that arise to play in a competition with the quality of the Premiership.
“If you are a young player this is the opportunity to go out there and show what you can do. It has proven that a lot of guys have come in, showed what they can do and gone into the first team, and onwards for international honours.
“All the guys are aware of it. But it is about getting out there and working extremely hard and showcasing the skills these young players have got.”
Last season Wasps enjoyed an intense rivalry with Exeter Chiefs – beating them in a European quarter-final, before losing to them twice in the final month of the season – including a crucial end-of-season play-off semi-final at Sandy Park.
The personnel may be very different for both clubs in July at the Singha 7s repeat show but Davies insists there’s unfinished business for Wasps against the Chiefs.
“We played Exeter a lot last season and in some big games,” added Davies. “I don’t necessarily see the Singha 7s as tied into that but it’s still important.
“I think all of our players will have motivation on the basis that it is a new season and they will want to show what they can do.
“Our guys will want to focus on Exeter and win those games, anything that comes after that we can work from.
“It really gives the young guys a first step on the ladder on their way in the senior part of the club.
“A few of them will feature in A-League stuff but this is the opportunity for them to pull on a jersey and play in front of a passionate crowd who wants to see them play.
“It is an opportunity for them to do something which shows us how far they can go and put their hands up for future selection and push themselves forward.”
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July at Cardiff Arms Park with the Finals at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and details visit premiershiprugby.com/singha7stickets