The annual curtain-raising Premiership Rugby 7s tournament will be broadcast live and exclusively on BT Sport this September as the season starts in style.
The ‘Olympic-style’ version of the tournament will take place on Friday 13 September and Saturday 14 September with every game live on BT Sport.
The pool stages get underway at 5.30pm on the Friday night, with teams divided into four groups of three and playing each other once.
The top two in each pool progress into Saturday’s Cup quarter-finals, with matches starting at 2.30pm, and the remaining four go straight into the Plate semi-finals.
“The club love hosting the Premiership Rugby 7s,” said the former England international.
“It’s the third year we have hosted it and it’s a real good way to start the season as it gives young players a chance to shine.
“Rory Hutchinson played in it this time last year and it’s a cracking opportunity for those guys to get a first run out. Players new to the academy can put the shirt on for the first time.
“They get a chance to tear around Franklin’s Gardens in front of a home crowd and it’s tremendously exciting for the club, so we’re all looking forward to that.
“The atmosphere at Franklin’s Gardens is always good for 7s and they are doing work all the time to improve the experience for fans, so it will only continue to get better.”
The tournament offers the chance for the next generation of rugby stars to go toe-to-toe with seasoned campaigners as the clubs gear up for another busy campaign.
With lots of international stars away preparing for the World Cup it offers the opportunity for younger players like Saints full-back George Furbank to stake a first-team claim.
The 22-year-old said: “It’s nice to have the Premiership Rugby 7s tournament back at Franklin’s Gardens again for the third year in a row – we won it at home a couple of years ago, which was awesome.
“It’s nice for the young boys to be able to pull on the jersey pretty early on in the season. They’re the first ones who get to show Chris Boyd and the other coaches what they’re about.
“It is really exciting. No pre-season is going to prepare you for the first five minutes of 7s!
“It’s an exciting opportunity and one the boys will relish when it comes around.”
Day one fixture list:
|Pool D||5.30pm||London Irish v Gloucester|
|Pool B||5.53pm||Bath v Wasps|
|Pool A||6.15pm||Worcester Warriors v Sale Sharks|
|Pool C||6.38pm||Bristol Bears v Northampton Saints|
|Pool D||7pm||Exeter Chiefs v London Irish|
|Pool B||7.23pm||Wasps v Leicester Tigers|
|Pool A||7.45pm||Saracens v Sale Sharks|
|Pool C||8.08pm||Harlequins v Bristol Bears|
|Pool D||8.30pm||Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester|
|Pool B||8.53pm||Bath v Leicester Tigers|
|Pool A||9.15pm||Worcester Warriors v Saracens|
|Pool C||9.38pm||Harlequins v Northampton Saints|