CAPTAIN Kevin Barrett is hoping a record-breaking Twickenham crowd can roar his England superheroes to victory in the London Sevens at the weekend.
The Saracens scrum-half leads out the Red Rose in front of an expected 60,000-strong crowd for their first round of pool stage matches on Saturday.
Currently sitting fifth in the IRB World Series, England are looking for a first victory of the campaign in front of their home support in, this, the penultimate round of the season.
No fewer than 16 international-standard teams will slog it out over two days in more than 12 hours of exciting, free-flowing Sevens rugby played in a carnival atmosphere.
And this year, Twickenham are looking to host the biggest rugby party in the world, while taking part in a Guinness world record attempt to attract the biggest number of people dressed as superheroes, beating the current best of 1,016.
But while Barrett and his Red Rose team-mates will leave the Batman and Superman costumes in the dressing room, they will be hoping the crowd can lift them to a super-human effort.
“It was an incredible atmosphere at Twickenham last year and with the world record attempt, I reckon we can expect the same this time around,” Barrett told City A.M. “The crowd really get into it and it rubs off on the players as we are able to soak up the energy from the stands.
“We are a young team this year but have proved on our day we can match the likes of Samoa and New Zealand, and it would be great to repeat last year’s success at Twickenham.”
The likes of England XV stars Danny Care, Mathew Tait, David Strettle, Ben Foden and Ugo Monye have all come through Sevens rugby, and Barrett believes it is the perfect grounding in which to learn the technical elements of the game.
“Sevens is the ultimate in skill and fitness, which is why a lot of the senior lads still play this format of the game to test themselves. There really is nowhere to hide. It’s fast, dynamic and skilful, and a great spectacle.”
l The Emirates Airline London Sevens at Twickenham takes place on 22-23 May. Tickets start from £10 and are available via www.rfu.com/tickets or by calling 0844 847 2492. For tournament information visit www.facebook.com/londonsevens.