Gloucester Rugby: Sevens success can be a nudge to boss Nigel
GLOUCESTER'S JP Morgan Premiership Sevens stars can force their way into Nigel Davies' early-season plans, believes Martyn Thomas.
The majority of Gloucester's first team squad are locked in altitude training in Tignes in the French Alps, ahead of Friday night's pre-season clash in Toulon (kick-off 7.30pm BST).
But first-team regulars Thomas, Akapusi Qera and Matt Cox, along with rising stars like Billy Burns and Gareth Evans, have stayed behind to compete in the annual pre-season sevens tournament.
Counter-attacking full-back Thomas admitted it was 'unfortunate' not to be out in France.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Instead of bemoaning his fate though, he has set about producing a sterling selection pitch for the season ahead.
Gloucester finished second in Group A in last Thursday's Kingsholm sevens action, and will now head to Bath's Recreation Ground for Friday night's JP Morgan competition finals (kick-off 7pm).
Thomas said the sevens offers a fine shop window for a host of Cherry and Whites charges.
He explained: "It's a new season, a new start with new players about.
"There are players out in France and there are players here too.
"We're all trying to make an impact and trying to get into Nigel's thoughts really.
"Pre-season games are all about taking chances: when you get yours, you've got to grab it with both hands.
"Sevens is a great way to gear up for the rest of the pre-season.
"There's obviously the camp out in Tignes and it's a little bit unfortunate not to get out there.
"But you get your hands on the ball a lot in the sevens, you get the chance to sharpen up, and it's a great chance to move quickly forward into the rest of the pre-season challenges.
"Hopefully I can move on from this to get some game time against Munster and in the other pre-season games."
Thomas revelled in last week's raucous JP Morgan Sevens action at a packed Kingsholm.
Eager for further glory on Friday, the 26-year-old said Gloucester must sharpen up their kick-off receipt to stand any chance of claiming the title.
Full-back Olly Morgan has assumed the coaching reins from club analyst and former England Sevens cap Rob Thirlby, who has joined the Tignes training camp.
Gloucester will face Leicester and Saracens in Pool B on Friday, and must top that three-team table to qualify for the overall final.
He continued: "It was a real spectacle and a great evening last week.
"It was a little frustrating not to win the group, but we've got to be pleased we've made the final.
"The main objective is to just to get out there and win the games that are first-up.
"After that, anything can happen. So we'll definitely be there for silverware on Friday.
"You need a good set of lungs for sevens, but if you get your structures right then you will win games.
"There's a big emphasis this week in training on the kick-offs because that's where games can be won and lost.
"If you retain the kick-offs then you're in with a shout.
"Olly shadowed Rob last week in training and he knows what he's doing.
"The supporters were fantastic last week – we talk about the 16th man in 15s, well now we've got the eighth man in sevens!"
GLOUCESTER: M Thomas (capt), J Hill, W Hayward, A Bulumakau, M Cox, N Codlin, G Evans, R McAtee, B Burns, S Reynolds, D Cheshire.
■ The JP Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Final is at The Recreation Ground, Bath on Friday night. For tickets go to www.bathrugby.com/tickets.