The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s is about more than just lifting the trophy as young players get experience of the big stage according to Ospreys coach Dan Griffiths.
All 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs will once again be joined by the four Welsh Pro teams in a pre-season showcase of the game’s shortened code.
The Welsh leg returns to BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday August 15th – and the Ospreys will be out to put on a display befitting of their jersey.
Last year’s tournament – the first to include Welsh participants – saw Ospreys slip to three straight defeats at the hands of their regional rivals and finish the group stage with a solitary point to their name.
And while Griffiths, who has been part of the Ospreys coaching team for four years, admits using the tournament to blood in some fresh faces is a top priority, the successful elite youth development manager would like to see a different set of results this summer.
“The boys that did play would have learnt a lot from that day,” reflected Griffiths.
“As we said in the changing room afterwards, perhaps it wasn’t about winning at that point, but learning from the experience and knowing where you can make improvements as a player. It’s very much the same this year.
“Although we’ll always be going out to win in an Ospreys shirt, because that’s what our culture demands, we need to expose these players to a level of competition that helps them improve, develop and test their skills under pressure. That’s what the sevens will give us.
“There is a big rivalry in Wales amongst the regions and a lot of the boys know each other and have to compete with each other. They enjoy that and Wales is unique in the fact that all the regions are close together.
“We’re a small nation in terms of our rugby playing population, so there’s a lot of rivalry and a lot of competition.”
Twelve months before rugby returns to the Olympics – in Rio – Premiership Rugby continues to lead the way when it comes to club 7s.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will be an important competition and will start a run-in to the Olympic Games when rugby will be firmly in the world spotlight.
And when it kicks off in little more than two weeks’ time, Griffiths is looking forward to see some senior Ospreys of the future step into a spotlight of their own.
“What the sevens does is give boys who are training with the first team the opportunity now to go and play against good players and test themselves in the competition.
“It’s an opportunity for those boys who perhaps won’t be involved in those pre-season games.
“We speak a lot about our pathway, how positive that’s been for the Ospreys, and the way we’re producing young players, as you’ll see from the senior team with guys like Nicky Smith and Dan Baker coming through.
“It’s been a huge resource for us and hopefully we can uncover the next batch of talent coming through now in this sevens competition.
“We’ll be looking to give a good account of ourselves and there’s the great opportunity for two teams to progress from the Welsh leg to play against the English clubs. That adds to the experience that some of our younger players can benefit from as part of their development – playing at big grounds against quality players under pressure; you just can’t replicate that in a training environment in terms of what players can learn from those experiences.”
After kicking off in Wales the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will continue at Gloucester Rugby, the Ricoh Arena and Kingston Park, with the Series Final taking place at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday 28 August.
Tickets for the Welsh leg of the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series are now on sale from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at ospreysrugby.com/buytickets or by calling 0844 815 6665, priced at £10 for adults and £5 concessions.
Season members can also purchase their tickets at the reduced price of just £5.
The event kicks off at the family friendly time of 3.15pm on Saturday 15th August, with the following timetable:
Singha Premiership 7s Series - Group A:
3.15pm - Cardiff Blues 7s v Ospreys 7s
3.40pm - Newport Gwent Dragons 7s v Scarlets 7s
4:10pm - Newport Gwent Dragons 7s v Ospreys 7s
4:35pm - Cardiff Blues 7s v Scarlets 7s
5:05pm - Ospreys 7s v Scarlets 7s
5:30pm - Cardiff Blues 7s v Newport Gwent Dragons 7s