ANTHONY ALLEN, one of the most exciting young talents in the country, believes Gloucester's highly gifted squad can do real damage at the Middlesex Sevens on Saturday.
The centre has been named in a 10-man squad for the event at Twickenham that includes four sevens internationals under the captaincy of England skipper Simon Amor, as well as vital Premiership experience with the likes of Marcel Garvey and Jake Boer.
The chance to shine at Headquarters could cap a perfect week for the former Millfield School boy after he was named in the Senior National Academy squad for the first time on Monday alongside Kingsholm team-mate Olly Morgan.
Allen's only previous sevens experience came last winter when he led England Under-19s to the silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Bendigo, Australia and he hopes that will stand him good stead.
"It has been a hectic few weeks and my body is getting used to being a professional rugby player but I am really excited about this weekend," Allen told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
"There are some young players in the squad but they have a lot of experience people like Will Matthews and Simon Amor have played for England so we know what we are doing and I am sure we can go down to Twickenham and do well.
"There is obviously a XV-aside game this weekend too but I prefer sevens, it's quick and exciting and I am really looking forward to the opportunity.
"I have not thought about goals this season I just want to use each game as a learning curve and that starts this weekend in an event I think we can do really well in."
Amor will lead the squad and will be joined by fellow internationals James Bailey, expressive and hugely talented number eight James Forrester and flanker Matthews.
The squad is littered with first team experience and former club skipper Jake Boer will provide a teak-tough edge in the forwards and Marcel Garvey blistering speed and power on the wing.
The Premiership's leading clubs have named strong squads for the event and Gloucester will be hoping to go one better than last season when they lost to the British Army in the final.
Olly Morgan, Brad Davies and Ryan Lamb are also included in a squad that could really do some damage.
S. Amor (capt), J. Boer, M. Garvey, J. Bailey, B. Davies, O. Morgan, R. Lamb, W. Matthews, A. Allen, J. Forrester.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Gloucester made it two wins from two outings in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup as they outplayed Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm to win by 37 points to 8, the bonus point try coming with the final play of the game.