WALES sevens star Sam Cross says Newport Gwent Dragons can shock their English opponents in tonight’s Premiership 7s finals at The Stoop, writes Andrew Penman.
Cross captains the youthful Dragons squad who play their first game against Newcastle Falcons at 7.15pm and he’s confident that they can upset the odds in London.
That’s after a highly impressive performance in the Welsh leg of the tournament last week, which saw the Dragons beat the Ospreys and the Scarlets and draw 19-19 with the Blues, who are also through to tonight’s finals.
“We’re really excited about this tournament,” said the 21-year-old skipper, who was a leading figure for his country in the 2013/14 IRB World Series and has a national contract for the coming campaign.
“It was great for us to get through the Welsh leg and now we want to upset a few of the English sides as well.
“It would be great for the first year of the competition if one of the Welsh regions could pip the English and go on and win it.
“We’ve had a look at Newcastle and pin-pointed where we think we might be able to get the upper hand against them,” he added.
“We’ve put that into practice in training as well and the boys are pretty confident of going there and doing a job.”
Cross was one of several Dragons players disappointed to miss out on representing Wales at the recent Commonwealth Games but he says there’s still a lot to play for.
“A few of us were disappointed not to make the squad for Glasgow so we’re looking to impress and really put our stamp on this tournament,” he said.
“Sevens is getting a lot more air-time now with the Commonwealths and the Olympics to come as well. People are starting to take more of an interest.
“I’ve got ambitions in the 15-game but sevens is my focus at the moment. I’m contracted to Wales 7s this season and I really enjoy it.
“Lyn Jones has brought me in to train with the Dragons full-time as well. That will really help my development and hopefully there will be an opportunity there.”
Teenager Angus O’Brien is also hoping to catch the eye of Lyn Jones after impressing for Cross Keys last season.
“I had a great time at Cross Keys last year and the team pushed on really well, making two finals,” said the 19-year-old.
“This is my first full year with the Dragons now and I’m not expecting to break straight into the team but I want to keep developing and eventually make the first team.”