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Young Gun: Will Safe – Gloucester No.8

Will SafeThe Premiership Sevens has been showcasing the best talents English rugby has to offer for many years now and Will Safe is hoping the tournament will springboard a breakthrough season for him.

The 19-year-old was part of the all-conquering Gloucester side that convincingly won their group at Kingsholm on Thursday where he played in all three games and scored a try against Exeter in the first game of the evening.

The finals at the Stoop on Friday are next on his agenda and he hopes it will put him in good stead ahead of the Cherry and Whites’ upcoming pre-season fixtures against the Chiefs and Bath in September.

“I played an A-League game at Kingsholm last season but the atmosphere was incredible on Thursday night,” he told The Rugby Paper. “To play in front of 13,000 people and win all three games to make the finals again was just brilliant. It hasn’t really sunk in yet.

“The Premiership Sevens is a great opportunity for youngsters to show the coaches what they can do and I hope I’ll be able to put a marker down for the season at The Stoop.

“I played in three A-League games last season and was a on the bench for a LV=Cup game against London Welsh. Unfortunately I didn’t get on so making my first team debut is at the top of my wish list this season.

“Because of the World Cup the academy players have been training with the first team and it’s been really good. We have pre-seasons games coming up so I hope to get a run then and see how it goes.”

Safe started playing rugby at Old Patesians in Cheltenham, but when his mother mentioned joining Hartpury College he quickly jumped on the occasion to link up with Gloucester’s famous breeding set up in the summer of 2012.

Two AASE League titles and a FIRA Championship with England U18s later, he is now a full-time member of the Gloucester academy.

But while he feels ready for the step up to senior rugby he is hoping for one last hurrah at age group level with the Junior World Cup in Manchester next June.

“Senior rugby is a lot slower than school rugby but it’s a lot more physical. Coping with that and putting on some weight has been my main focus for the past year.

“I’m up to 95 kg (15st) which is good for my height (6ft 3in) and the game I like to play. I enjoy getting my hands on the ball and get involved with the backs in the wider channels.

“The set up at Hartpury is just incredible. They are making a big name for themselves being the only winners of the AASE and more and more players want to join.

“The level of competition is going through the roof and it shows on the pitch. We played Millfield School in my first year and we beat them which shows how good the College is.

“I’m hoping to get involved in the U20s set up this year. Playing well in pre-season could be a great opportunity for me to catch the eyes of the selectors as well as the EPS squad is being announced soon. If I manage to get in there it’d put in a good position to play in the Six Nations and the JWC.”

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