Ospreys Enter Future Stars To Inaugural

Some of the Ospreys brightest young talent are taking part in a brand new, innovative tournament set to become a big date on the rugby calendar in coming years.


The National Academy Sevens takes place on Saturday May 9 at Newbury RFC and will see 16 teams from across the UK battling for the Futures Cup.

It is the brainchild of Henley RFC rugby director Jason Forster, the former Wales international back-row, who has received support for the rugby spectrum.

The National Academy Sevens, targeting the Under-19 age group, is also aimed at a growing and vibrant seven-a-side rugby global scene which has witnessed the shortened version of the game grow in amazing popularity.

And it is attracting some big names already. Heineken Cup semi-finalists Leicester, for example, will be one of the 16 clubs and regions to send a team to the event which starts at 11am.

Also, some members of Wales' World Cup-winning squad, who lifted the trophy in Dubai by beating Argentina in the final last month, are set to make an appearance at Newbury.

Forster said: "First and foremost, I'd like to thank Newbury RFC for hosting this inaugural National Academy Sevens which will only get bigger and better as the years progress.

"There are a lot of sevens tournaments that take place around the country but what I want to specifically do is target a certain area.

"There does not seem to be a great deal for the Under-19 age group. They just seem to train all the time so this is a day dedicated to them, to showcase their talent and see who is the best Under-19 Academy around the UK at the moment."

This year's tournament will see nine Guinness Premiership teams and two of the Welsh regional sides entering squads, while five National League One add extra spice.

Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg, said Forster. He added: "We have nine of the Premiership sides and all of them have indicated they will come in next year, likewise with the Welsh regional sides.

"Hopefully, it will grow and attract the Scottish and Irish regional sides and their academies and then, who knows where it will go. We hope it will grow internationally.

"The focus on the day belongs to these youngsters and it is also an opportunity for the coaches around the country to assess the talent that is coming through at that level."

Forster has some vastly-experienced help in ensuring the National Academy Sevens is a roaring success.

The Rugby Football Union have given their blessing, while Tony McArthur, the man behind the legendary Henley Sevens which was one of the great 'days out' in rugby for years and went international themselves in the last 1990s when Fiji entered a side.

"I have got Tony on-boarded helping me out and also John Fletcher, who is with the England Under-18 side, is very keen on getting this off the ground."

The competition has been put together in a matter of a few short months, but Forster added: "We will have 12 months to organise after this one on May 9 so it will go from strength to strength."

Tickets for the day cost £10 (adults) with concessions for children, OAP's and families.