Olver insists Saints hold no fear of Gloucester ahead of sevens showdown

Howard Packman, Sam Olver and Josh Skelcey will all be involved at The Stoop on Friday night (picture: Linda Dawson)
Howard Packman, Sam Olver and Josh Skelcey will all be involved at The Stoop on Friday night (picture: Linda Dawson)

Sam Olver says Saints will not fear defending champions Gloucester in Friday night’s Premiership Rugby Sevens Series quarter-final at The Stoop.

And he has urged his team-mates to simply go out and enjoy the chance to play in front of a sizeable finals day crowd.

Saints booked their place thanks to two wins from three games at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday.

They bounced back from a 42-7 humbling at the hands of Harlequins by edging past Wasps and putting Saracens to the sword on their way to a date with Gloucester.

And Olver, who is the captain of the sevens side, said: “You’re excited to play in any sort of rugby match and going down to The Stoop in front of a big crowd will be a really good experience for the young players.

“It will teach them how to deal with the pressure of playing in front of lots of supporters and it will be a really good night.

“Gloucester have got the likes of Steph Reynolds with his pace and we’ll just have to try to match them physically and see what we can do with our sevens play.

“They are the defending champions so they’ve got a bit of experience of winning sevens competitions but we’ll see what we can do on Friday night.

“We just want to go into it with the mentality of enjoying it. We’ve got some young players and we’ll just go out there and enjoy it to see what we can do.”

Saints will be without some of the stars of last week’s show, with Harry Mallinder and Lewis Ludlam among the players heading off to South Africa with England Under 18s.

But there will still be plenty of promise in the Northampton team, which will also include players such as Glenn Dickson and Teimana Harrison.

And Olver is taking confidence from the events of the evening at the Gardens, when Saints were boosted by a crowd of more than 11,000.

“Our players loved the experience as you saw by the reactions when they scored tries,” said the fly-half.

“Having the Saints fans behind us was great and I thought the young lads reacted to the pressure well and they were really impressive.

“It will just improve them as players.”

Saints face Gloucester at 6.25pm with the loser dropping into the Plate competition and the winner moving into the semi-finals of the main draw.

Saints squad for Friday night’s Premiership Rugby Sevens finals day: Josh Skelcey, George Cox, Glenn Dickson, Tim Cardall, Jacob Conner, Rory Hutchinson, Will Allman, Teimana Harrison, Phil Robinson, Sam Olver (c), Howard Packman, Matt Goode.

Gloucester: Sam Showering, Jacob Rowan, Dan Thomas, Bill Meakes, Sam Underhill, Aled Thomas (c), Lloyd Evans, Henry Purdy, Ollie Thorley, Callum Braley, Steph Reynolds.