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.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.