Harlequins Luke White admits the roar of the home crowd is something that can’t be underestimated as his side bids for Singha Premiership Rugby 7s glory this Friday at the familiar setting of the Twickenham Stoop.
The fly-half was part of the Quins line-up that qualified for the Singha 7s finals at the Ricoh Arena last week, where a 26-12 bonus point win over Northampton Saints in their final match was enough to seal their progress alongside Wasps in Group C.
They now get the opportunity to lift the Singha 7s trophy at their home ground, but face a tough test in two-times defending champions Gloucester Rugby in the quarter-finals.
Harlequins 7s skipper Joe Marchant was still at school last year when he won player of the round at Franklin’s Gardens, and White – who recently left Bromsgrove school – is hoping he can produce some similar heroics this time around.
“It was a little touch and go at one stage as it went down to the last game, but thankfully we got a try when we needed to and managed to scrape through to the final,” he said.
“The final will be amazing, as it’s my first chance to run out in a Quins shirt at our home ground. I’m sure we’ll have a huge crowd there behind us which will hopefully spur us on. It should be a very exciting evening of rugby.
“We’d love to take advantage of it being at the Stoop. I felt it last week playing at Wasps; every time they came out and did something on the pitch there was a massive roar, so I’m sure if we got something similar the lads would really appreciate it.
“It was pretty daunting originally last Friday, when I first saw that I would be playing against the likes of Elliot Daly and Christian Wade in front of such a big Wasps crowd, but once you’re out there you’ve just got to forget about who they are and play your game.
“We had nothing to lose as a squad of academy players, so we just wanted to try and express ourselves.”
There were 163 tries in the group stages and the excitement is set to continue in Friday’s final round as Harlequins, Wasps, Gloucester Rugby, Exeter Chiefs, Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons battle it out for the first silverware of the club season.
Harlequins under-18s prospect Nathan Thomas is hoping to be called into the side for Friday’s final showcase, and is relishing the prospect of pulling on a Quins jersey at the Stoop for the first time.
And the 17-year-old insists Quins are the team to watch, as their group of eager academy players look to upset the odds.
He said: “I’m very excited and I think it’s going to be an unbelievable experience for me. The home fans will actually have someone to cheer for, so I think they’re going to go all in.
“It’s my first time playing for Quins at the Stoop, so it’s going to be a big day for me, definitely.
“The Singha 7s is massive for the younger players like me as during the season you don’t always get the opportunity to come through and show what you can do at this level like you can here.
“I’m only 17, and there are a few of the other boys coming through the setup too, so for us to play 7s for the first team is unbelievable.
“Quins are the team to watch; there’s no-one else other than the Quins for me. A lot of the other teams have some big names playing but we are a side based on academy players.
“The coaches are trying to bring us through to drive the whole squad forward, so I think we are the ones to look out for given the young guys and new faces that will be out on the pitch.”
1. 6pm – 6.20pm – Quarter-Final 1 Newport Gwent Dragons v Sale Sharks
2. 6.25pm – 6.45pm – Quarter-Final 2 Gloucester Rugby v Harlequins
3. 6.50pm – 7.10pm – Quarter-Final 3 Wasps v Exeter Chiefs
4. 7.15pm – 7.35pm – Quarter-Final 4 Newcastle Falcons v Scarlets
5. 7.40pm – 8.00pm – Plate Semi-Final Loser Game 1 v Loser Game 2
6. 8.05pm – 8.25pm – Cup Semi-Final Winner Game 1 v Winner Game 2
7. 8.30pm – 8.50pm – Plate Semi-Final Loser Game 3 v Loser Game 4
8. 8.55pm – 9.15pm – Cup Semi-Final Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 4
9. 9.20pm – 9.40pm – Plate Final Winner Game 5 v Winner Game 7
10. 9.45pm – 10.05pm – Cup Final Winner Game 6 v Winner Game 8