WASPS full-back Jack Wallace has the perfect shop window to showcase his talents to new director of rugby Dai Young at this Friday’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s second round in Northampton.
Wallace, from Milton Keynes, is about to embark on his third season with the Adams Park outfit, but the England U20 international has up to now seen his first team appearances limited to just 10.
Chief tormentor in that regard was veteran No. 15 Mark van Gisbergen, but with the 34-year-old having jumped ship to Lyon this summer, the path is somewhat clearer for Wallace in his first-team rugby pursuit.
The first step for Wallace to impress his new boss comes at Franklin’s Gardens when Wasps take on Northampton, 2010 champions Saracens, and Gloucester in the second round of their area group stage of the Rugby 7s competition. The 12 Premiership clubs have been split into three groups for the tournament, with the winner and runner up of each regional event going through to the final.
Six short games are played on each evening and 20-year-old Wallace plans on grabbing the opportunity to force his way into Young’s thinking as Wasps look to join Harlequins and Bath – already qualified from their group – in the finals at the Twickenham Stoop on August 5.
“The Sevens is a great chance for me to start the season well and to try and put in some good performances to show the coaching staff what I can offer,” said Wallace.
“As a member of the back three you couldn’t wish for a better opportunity really because Sevens obviously lends itself to the back three and gives us a chance to get the ball in hand.
“With a new coach at the club obviously everyone is looking to make sure they put in good performances at the start of the season and the Sevens is no different.
“I’ve been in the Wasps set-up for two years now so I feel at home in it and I feel comfortable with the lads but what is important for me is that I try and get as many appearances as I can this season.
“With Mark leaving that has obviously opened it up a little bit in the full-back position and hopefully I can make a good start in terms of getting that spot in Northampton on Friday.”
Van Gisbergen’s departure saw Wallace lose a key mentor in his fledgling career and, despite accepting the personal gain it brought him, the full-back admits he was sad to see the back of the England international.
“Mark was a great help to me and a real inspiration for me because of the way he played and his experience in the game,” added Wallace.
“Obviously it helps me with him having now left the club and I need to try and profit from that but I was sad to see him leave because I have really enjoyed playing with him and learning from him.”
Tickets for every round of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series are available through Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 0844 847 2492