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.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC on Saturday. Rebecca de Filippo and Gemma Sharples took time out from training to preview the game.
Speaking to the local media this week, front row forward John Afoa spoke of the squad's targets for this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Final with Cardiff Blues at Kingsholm. Despite taking on new opponents, the squad know the focus is on themselves to get the job done as knockout rugby kicks in.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).