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.
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.