A host of Wales’ brightest young stars are gearing up for the rigours of 7s rugby when the first-ever Welsh stage of the Premiership Rugby 7s comes to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park later this month
At what promises to be a great night’s rugby entertainment in the capital city, on Saturday 26th July (7.15pm start) all four Welsh Regions will line-up in a six game showdown with two Welsh teams then joining top flight English Premiership clubs in a grand 7s final at Twickenham Stoop on August 8th 2014.
The whole Premiership Rugby 7s series will be televised by BT Sport - the four Welsh Regions new sponsor for next season who are showing their commitment to promoting the best Welsh Regional Rugby action right from the outset of their new partnership, with a prime spot on the opening weekend.
Simon Green, Head of BT Sport said: “We are delighted to be broadcasting the first ever Welsh stage in the Premiership Rugby 7’s exclusively live on BT Sport 1 at the newly named BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park. I can’t think of a better way to kick off our relationship with Welsh regional rugby and right at the beginning of our biggest ever season.”
Speaking at the launch of the Welsh 7s fixtures at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Tuesday (8th July) Newport Gwent Dragons CEO Gareth Davies said:
“This is such a positive step forward for our four Regions to be joining the Premiership Rugby 7s; we need more 7s being played in Wales – it’s great to see the pace and ambition of young, developing players in action in a game that demands a lot physically. It shows the spirit of partnership with the English clubs and our new sponsor BT Sport to support a game which is becoming increasingly popular and high profile as an Olympic Sport in 2016.”
Fresh from putting pen-to-paper with the Ospreys Ross Jones said:
"I've been fortunate to have some great experiences on the 7s circuit with Wales this year that have really helped to improve me as a player so I'm really looking forward to hopefully being involved in the Premiership 7s. It’s great concept, to have the four regions going head to head, it should be a great evening with a decent crowd.”
World Cup 7s winner and former Wales 7s captain Richie Pugh, who will be leading the coaching of the Scarlets team in the series said he thought it was a great new initiative for Welsh Rugby as a whole.
“I think this is a real boost for the Welsh Regions - I’ve watched the Premiership Rugby 7s over the last few seasons and it’s a very good series that pulls in the crowds; I’m just sorry never had the opportunity to be a part of it as a player!
“This tournament will be great for the Scarlets. It will give an opportunity for some exciting young players to put their hands up on the big stage and positive for our supporters to see the real talent we have coming through the ranks.
“For the players involved they have a big chance to show the coaching team what they can do before the season starts. 7s is a very intense game - that tests and exposes you as a player but also gives you a chance to express yourself - it’s an exciting format for spectators and players.
“It will be an action-packed occasion on the 26th July without doubt with derbies game after game! There’s also a nice carrot of reaching the final at the Stoop – the Welsh regions have it all to play for and will be doing so against local rivals.
“There will be a lot of rivalry, a lot of players who know each other, that’s what makes it more exciting to get those two spots in the final.”
Cardiff Blues talent Richard Smith said:
“It's a great showcase opportunity for all the players in our squad and being a home tournament we want to put on a good show. The BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park is our own field and we want to make it a fortress in any competition we play.
“Sevens is all on the day. You play what is in front of you and have a go, that is what the day will be all about and trying to put all the fitness and gym work in pre-season into practice.
“It’s a big incentive to come out of the tournament as a Welsh qualifier and then go on and play the big Premiership teams in England. I came from 7s and that was the first professional environment I was involved in. It was a brilliant stepping-stone to get into 15s and the way I have developed from 7s has made me the player I am now.
“I think 7s is great exposure to your skills and your defence. When you run out on the field in a Sevens game you realise just how exposed you are. There’s no hiding place and if our left hand pass is not as good as your right then it will come out.
"The amount of times you get your hands on the ball, the technique of tackling with so much space to cover. You take that into the 15s game and you feel so much sharper and tested."
Ollie Griffiths from Newport Gwent Dragons said:
"I am looking forward to the challenge of the 7s. The last time I played was in school so I have to make sure that I train hard during pre-season for the tournament. It's great that the Welsh clubs have been included in the Premiership 7s tournament alongside the English clubs and a big motivation for us as young players, to show what we can do.”
Ticket prices are just £5 for Regions Season Ticket holders (£3 for concessions) £10 for other guests (£5 concessions). Standing tickets are prices £4 for adult season ticket holders and £8 for other guests.
To book please click here or call 02920 302030.