Tupai to skipper Saints in sevens series at the Gardens

Connor Tupai will skipper Saints in the Premiership Rugby 7s
Connor Tupai will skipper Saints in the Premiership Rugby 7s

Connor Tupai will skipper a young Saints squad in the Premiership Rugby 7s at Franklin's Gardens this weekend.

Devante Onojaife represents Saints for the third season running in the competition, with the likes of Tupai, Josh Gillespie and Ollie Newman pulling on the black, green and gold jersey for the second time in 7s rugby.

But it will be a first Saints outing at Franklin’s Gardens for Emmanuel Iyogun, Jack Hughes, Tui Uru, Tommy Freeman and Tommy Mathews – while under-18 players Ethan Grayson (younger brother of Northampton fly-half James), Tom Litchfield and Dani Long-Martinez also get an opportunity to strut their stuff on the big stage.

The squad will be led by Academy attack coach Jake Sharp.

And Sharp said: “The sevens is a fantastic opportunity for these guys to pull on a black, green and gold jersey for the first time this season in front of a big crowd at Franklin’s Gardens.

“We’re focused on playing some really entertaining rugby for what we’re sure will be a raucous home crowd, but these young players will be hoping to put themselves into contention to play XVs rugby in the coming weeks too.

“Rory Hutchinson skippered our side last year and ended the season representing his country, so this could be just the start for any one of our squad.

“The sevens is also the first piece of silverware of the season available to the 12 clubs, and everyone will want to win it.

"We know how good it felt to win a trophy (the Premiership Rugby Cup) on home soil earlier this year, so of course we’ll be going all out to recreate that feat.”

Saints will face Bristol Bears and Harlequins on the first day of the tournament.

The hosts start against Bristol Bears (kick-off 6.38pm) on Friday before rounding off their night against Quins (kick-off 21.38pm).

After the pools are completed on Friday, Saturday’s matches will start at 2.30pm and see the top eight ranked teams contest the Cup quarter-finals.

The other four sides will head into the Plate semi-finals as they bid to lift some early-season silverware before the tournament ends at 6.45pm.

Premiership Rugby 7s Friday evening fixtures

17:30 London Irish v Gloucester Rugby

17:53 Bath Rugby v Wasps

18:15 Worcester Warriors v Sale Sharks

18:38 Bristol Bears v Saints

19:00 Exeter Chiefs v London Irish

19:23 Wasps v Leicester Tigers

19:45 Saracens v Sale Sharks

20:08 Harlequins v Bristol Bears

20:30 Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester Rugby

20:53 Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers

21:15 Worcester Warriors v Saracens

21:38 Harlequins v Saints

Saints' squad for the Premiership Rugby 7s

1 Emmanuel Iyogun

2 Jack Hughes

3 Devante Onojaife

4 Tui Uru

5 Ollie Newman

6 Connor Tupai (c)

7 Josh Gillespie

8 Tommy Freeman

9 Tommy Mathews

10 Ethan Grayson (U18, Northampton School for Boys)

11 Tom Litchfield (U18, Samuel Whitbread Academy)

12 Dani Long-Martinez (U18, Norwich School)