Sale Sharks scrum-half Will Cliff admits he is chomping at the bit more than most to get going at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series having been forced to watch – and sweat – as last season came to a close.
Cliff was a regular feature in Sale’s match day 22 last seasons, before a freak training ground accident, where he collided with a team-mate, ended his season prematurely in February.
And while the 24-year-old was stuck on the sidelines he could only watch on as Sale flirted with relegation before going on to finish tenth.
But despite last year’s struggles Cliff clearly believes the Sharks have plenty of bite left in them having also put pen to paper on a new deal last season.
And he is keen to show that last year’s struggles are behind both him and Sale as he bids to hit the ground running when he takes to the Franklin’s Gardens pitch on Friday for the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s.
“I haven’t played any rugby since February so I am really looking forward to getting back out there as soon as possible,” said Cliff, who will bid to help the Sharks see off Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints and book themselves a Series Final spot at the Rec on August 9.
“I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to actually playing rugby instead of just going to training and I have played in the last few and have enjoyed them so it will be a good run out.
“I would have loved to have played last season as it was so close at the end but thankfully the club stayed up and everyone is keen to put the struggles behind us now.
“The feeling in the squad is good heading into the new season and if you look at our squad we shouldn’t have been in the position we found ourselves in.
“Last year with a new stadium and new players it was always going to take time for everything to come together but the second half of the season we were much improved so we want to carry that over.
“That starts by getting off to a good start with the J.P. Morgan 7s Series and hopefully we can carry that over into the XVs game too.”
Cliff is joined in Sale’s 7s side by the likes of winger Tom Brady and new London Welsh singing Phil MacKenzie as they bid to get off to the ideal start this season.
But it is the more unrecognisable faces that Cliff is looking forward to seeing under the bright Franklin’s Gardens lights.
“We are using the 7s this year to give a few of the younger guys a run out but also to see what a few of the new guys are made of,” Cliff added.
“I think everyone really enjoys the competition and put their hands up for it because they want to get playing some rugby and not just train all the time.
“I have played the last few years and I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to it again and seeing if we can get the season off to a good start.”
The final of J.P Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s will be at The Recreation Ground, the home of Bath Rugby, on Friday 9 August. For tickets and more information visit: www.jpmorgan7s.com or follow @jpmorganrugby7s
Image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.