JONNY May has heralded Gloucester’s progress to the final of the J.P Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series as the start of a new era for the club.
The Cherry and Whites flyer was handed the captain’s armband for the three matches at Kingsholm and led his side to convincing wins over Bath, Exeter Chiefs and London Wasps.
Success on the 7s front follows a hugely disappointing end to the West Country outfit’s Premiership campaign, but May believes things have changed for the better under new head coach Nigel Davies – with more to come in the 7s Series final at Bath’s Rec Ground on Friday.
“It was great that the people of Gloucester came out to Kingsholm and showed some support, even after the disappointing end to last season - that was actually the reason we put such a strong side out and took it seriously,” said the 22-year-old full back.
“This is a new era, with some old players going and some new players and management coming in.
“Everyone wants to play for Gloucester, put down a marker and show the fans that we are taking it seriously and doing our very best.
“It is a huge honour to be captaining the side. This is a new chapter for the club and we want to start it with a good performance on Friday night.”
While some sides chose to field an experimental team for the competition, Gloucester dominated with a squad packed full of talent including the likes of May, Henry Trinder, Freddie Burns and former England stalwart Mike Tindall.
But May reserved his praise for two rising stars set to be fan favourites in the future, Ian Clark and Dan Robson.
Pint-sized winger Clark used his searing pace to snaffle six tries in the preliminary rounds of the 7s Series, backing up the talent he showed for Gloucester in the LV=Cup last season.
“Clarky was outstanding for us out on the wings – the thing with him is that he is actually very difficult to tackle,” said May.
“He has a really low centre of gravity and is very quick of the mark. Tacklers think they are going to get him, but he often manages to get under their arms.
“He will have to front up again this week because opposition defenders will know a little bit more about him than they did before and understand that he is a serious threat, but 7s suits him perfectly because he has license to run as fast as he can into space.”
While Clark will spend next season on loan at Hartpury College in National Two South, 20-year-old scrum half Dan Robson will be pressing hard for first team action after an inspired outing.
May was quick to show his appreciation for the England Under-20 star, who will learn from the knee of World Cup winner Jimmy Cowan next season.
“He is obviously a really good player and is someone who is ready,” said May.
“He is a year older than the other guys and can benefit from playing with the likes of Ben Morgan when he is back from international duty.
“He has shown real raw talent. He is fast, has good feet and can beat defenders with ease. I have noticed that he has worked really hard on his passing, too.
“His decision-making is coming in terms of when to kick and get us in the right areas of the pitch. He is going to come on really well and I expect to see a lot more of him this year.”
To book tickets for the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final on Friday, 3 August at The Recreation Ground, Bath, call 0844 448 1865 or visit www.bathrugby.com/tickets