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.
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Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
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It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
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Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and move on to next weekend's European Champions Cup final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles after a dramatic extra time win over a valiant Connacht side.