Welsh regions The Ospreys and The Dragons will compete in the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham this year, along with previous winners the British Army and National One promotion favourites Leeds Carnegie.
Those four teams will join the twelve Guinness Premiership teams to make a sixteen team competition.
The Ospreys are no strangers to Twickenham, having played in two EDF Energy Cup Finals there in the past two seasons, winning the trophy in 2008 by beating Leicester Tigers. The Dragons will join them in trying to put a Welsh name on the trophy for the first time, with sides like Swansea and Llanelli having taken part many times in the 1950s and 60s without success.
The British Army were twice winners, in 2001 and 2004 and will be amongst the favourites again with a team normally boasting a strong Pacific Islands presence.
Leeds Carnegie were quarter finalists last season and the tournament will provide the first competitive outing for new coaching team Andy Key and Neil Back.
The team to beat last season was Newcastle Falcons who claimed their first ever Middlesex Sevens title by beating Worcester Warriors by a single point, ably led by their captain, England Sevens star Ollie Phillips.
Under new head coach, Steve Bates, Newcastle will be aiming to retain the Russell Cargill Cup.
“As a club we have always taken Sevens seriously, because there are clearly benefits in terms of the 15-man game in terms of player and skill development,” said Bates.
“Winning the Middlesex Sevens last season was an outstanding achievement from such a young squad, many of whom have gone on to shine for the Falcons on the Guinness Premiership stage and earn England Sevens call-ups.
“Again this year we will be sending down a strong squad which has played a lot of Sevens tournaments together, and we will be looking to mount another strong challenge on the trophy.”
The Middlesex Sevens takes place on Saturday 16th August at Twickenham Stadium with the draw announced at 11am on Thursday 10th July.Reuse content