Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall urges Sevens squad to use tournament as a springboard to first team action

Picture: Action Images

Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport
Last updated

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has called on his young stars to follow the likes of Owen Farrell and use the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens Series as a stepping stone into the first team.

The Men in Black’s 10,000-seater home ground, Allianz Park, is hosting Pool C of the regional round of the popular tournament on Saturday, which is now in its fourth year.

And the likes of Farrell, who this summer was part of the successful British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, Jamie George and Jackson Wray have all been given their chance in the shorter form of the game since the Series began.

Champions in 2010 and runners-up in 2011, Saracens line up alongside Harlequins, London Irish and London Wasps in their pool as they look to improve on a semi-final appearance last year.

McCall said: "It’s tough from day one and this time of year you work on different things like strength speed and conditioning as well as a lot of skill development so it is a hard time of year for the guys.

"The Sevens is a really important vehicle," he said.

"If we look at the history of players who have come through our club in recent seasons we’ve had a bit of a who’s who - Owen Farrell, Jackson Wray, Jamie George - all those players got their first action for us in the Sevens so it shows how important it is for us.

"We have a couple of big names in the squad but as for the international players it’s too early for them to play so the young guys will all get their chance."

Winger Jack Wilson is one youngster included in the group alongside England speed merchant Chris Ashton and the tournament’s top try scorer James Short.

Wilson has had to wait his turn in the first team and the 23-year-old insists he is chomping at the bit to strut his stuff this weekend.

"Obviously Saracens have a good stock of wingers so I’ll have to just wait my chance and when I get the opportunity, take it," he said.

"Sevens will be fun, I’ve always enjoyed the Sevens games. There is always plenty of space out there so I’ll have to see how the fitness holds up for it but I’m looking forward to getting the ball in my hands.

"There’s always a certain amount of pressure that comes with the Saracens jersey and we seem to have won a few of the tournaments so this one should be good.

"Anytime is a good time to make an impression to get into the first team, whether it be training or a pre-season tournament, so hopefully I’ll get out there do my thing and score a couple of tries - winning some silverware will be a good start."

Kick-off in Pool C on Saturday is 7.30pm.

The third leg of J.P Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s will be at Allianz Park, the home of Saracens, on Saturday 3 August. For tickets and more information visit: wwwjpmorgan7s.com or follow @jpmorganrugby7s.

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