J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby Sevens Series
Ryan excited by Premiership Sevens prospects
July 12, 2010

The new J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby Sevens Series will provide the country's brightest young talent with a route to international recognition this summer, according to England Sevens coach Ben Ryan.

Speaking at the launch of the Series, that will see the 12 Premiership clubs divided into three groups for events staged at the Stoop, Welford Road and Franklin's Gardens, Ryan welcomed the latest push to bring the short form of the game to the forefront with the Commonwealth Games looming later this year and Olympics inclusion to follow in 2016.

The Series kicks off with Harlequins, Wasps, Saracens and London Irish going head-to-head at the Twickenham Stoop on July 14 with the top two teams from that competition and the following two events qualifying for the final. The inaugural Premiership Rugby Sevens Series title will be decided at Bath's Recreation Ground on August 6, under the watchful eye of Ryan and his selectors.

"The fact that we've got our young developing players a chance to play here, I can see them and hopefully this will form part of a more concrete pathway through to playing international sevens," he told ESPNscrum. "For me, and for the Premiership, it's win-win.

"You'll see some talented youngsters, who will open the club's eyes to what they've got on their books, in turn we'll see them and down the road you're going to see a very clear way that England are going to approach Sevens. It's a quick-moving environment at the moment and there is lots of stuff going on behind the scenes, which will be public soon, which shows England intend on taking this very seriously."

As Twenty20 continues to grow in popularity across the cricketing world, Wasps wing Tom Varndell sees potential for Sevens to make a mark during the Premiership's off-season. Varndell has recently returned from action with the Saxons at the Churchill Cup and is still in the Sevens frame for October's Commonwealth showpiece.

"It's going to be good for the game, Sevens is a party atmosphere," he said. "The crowds dress up, but for the player it's great to be part of and great to play in. On the world Sevens circuit, the places you go and see and the atmospheres you experience, you don't experience that in fifteens."

Harlequins' versatile back Ollie Lindsay-Hague made his England Sevens debut last season off the back of a strong showing at the Middlesex Sevens season opener, and sees the same potential for players to make the step up after pulling on the shirts of their clubs during the Premiership series.

"This will massively improve the youngsters coming through," he said. "They'll get to be seen on a massive circuit, all of their coaches will be watching. It'll be great experience coming through the ranks and they'll be looked at by selectors such as Ben Ryan, they'll come into camp to see if they're good enough, just like the opportunity I got."

The J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby Sevens series kicks-off at the Twickenham Stoop on July 16 where Harlequins, Wasps, Saracens and London Irish go head-to-head. July 23 sees Welford Road host Leeds Carnegie, Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks while Franklin's Gardens stages the final group round as Bath, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester and Northampton Saints face off for a place in the final on August 6. All four rounds will be shown LIVE on ESPN in the UK.

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