DEAN RYAN hailed Gloucester's Middlesex Sevens experience as a valuable success after his experimental squad lost to eventual winners Newcastle in the semi-finals.
The Kingsholm club suffered 26-5 defeat to the Falcons who then went on to beat Worcester in Twickenham's traditional curtain raiser to the season on Saturday.
Ryan's squad contained a mixture of quality sevens players - skippered by Luke Narraway and including James Bailey and Mark Foster - and was complimented by the likes of rookies Dan Norton, Pete Swatkins and Dave Lewis.
"Sevens can be any success you want it to be if you really understand and appreciate what you want to get out of it," Head coach Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"If we truly wanted to win the competition we may have selected a different squad but that wasn't our aim - any success we had was going to built around the development of the squad.
"We were obviously disappointed not to make the final having got so close but great credit must go to a number of young players who stepped up from the Academy set-up and a couple who are still at school. As a learning experience it was fantastic for them and guys like Dan Norton did fantastically well.
"We then had players like Luke Narraway, Mark Foster and James Bailey who were in the unfamiliar role as leaders - we wanted to see how they reacted as players and individuals to the extra responsibility because for us that is important in terms of squad development.
"To me, that is what makes the competition a success - it is about growing these players and providing them an opportunity to develop key skills we hope they can take into 15s.
"I was pleased with the way the squad worked together. They were given an opportunity and responded really well to the challenges."
Henry Purdy scored two memorable tries against London Welsh at Kingsholm on Saturday, and attributed the first one to hard work on the training ground before describing how much he's enjoying playing his rugby alongside friends like Callum Braley.
Gloucester face London Welsh for the third time this season when they meet at Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 3pm), but Director of Rugby David Humphreys insists his team are prepared for a tough game against the Exiles.
Billy Burns was a late call up to the Gloucester team that lost narrowly to the Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Friday evening and, speaking to GRTV post match, was full of praise for his team-mates but admitted that defeat was tough to take.
Speaking after what he described as an 'arm wrestle' up front, skipper Tom Savage couldn't fault his side's effort and commitment on the night at Welford Road but insisted that his side will keep on battling, starting at home to London Welsh next weekend.
A number of the Gloucester Rugby squad this week benefitted from an initiative organised by Circle 2 Success (C2S) and the Rugby Players Association (RPA) to help players develop their business planning skills.