Devon name squad to face Kent in final match of 2017 County Championship
DEVON RFU will be hoping to overcome injuries and unavailabilities when they host Kent at Barnstaple in their final game of the 2017 County Championships (3pm).
The Green and Whites have lost their opening two matches to Gloucestershire and Cornwall, but are looking to secure a vital win this weekend.
Although Devon cannot drop out of the top division of county rugby this season, points picked up this year will count towards next season’s relegation.
“It is important we try and pick up some league points to take that forward into next year,” said Lewis Paterson, who is one of Devon’s coaches.
“We need to try and make home advantage work for us this weekend.
“Hopefully, the Barnstaple supporters have been missing their rugby and will turn up and provide some valuable support for Devon.
“Matches at Barnstaple normally produce a massive atmosphere and hopefully that will be good for us.”
Devon met Kent away in their final match last season, with the host’s winning to secure a place in the Division Two final.
“Last year was an absolute gutter,” said Paterson. “All we needed was a point to go to Twickenham. We went all the way to Kent and faced a very strong Kent side.
“For those who were involved last year there will be a bit of redemption to be done this week.
“But we understand that Kent are going to be very strong and we need to make sure we understand their strengths.
He added: “We don’t want to be bottom of the pile and be the only team not to win.
“We need to make sure Devon is going in the right direction.”
Devon, promoted to the top division with Kent for this season’s campaign, will have to make a host of changes from last week’s game against Cornwall.
Captain James Harris, centre Paterson, scrum-half Cameron Setter, number eight Sam Thomas, winger Tom Scoles, prop Matt Finn and lock Jack Fahy are among those unavailable to play.
However, Devon are able to call on the likes of Newton Abbot forward Martin Browne and under-20 star Robin Luscombe, as well as Dan Armstrong, who is the son of former Devon player Bob.
Devon (from): Will Topps (Barnstaple), Jack Bond (Newton Abbot), Ollie Rice (Exmouth), Ryan Lee (Barnstaple), Harvey Ridgeway (Exmouth), Mitch Pinkus (Ivybridge), Ben Watts (Ivybridge), Charlie Briant (Ivybridge) Russell Morris (Brixham), Ashley Crouch (Barnstaple), Isaac Dalton (Exmouth), George Wilson (Ivybridge), Josh Rice (Honiton), Robin Luscombe (Kingsbridge), Martin Browne (Newton Abbot), Aidan Taylor (Exmouth), Brad Drew (Barnstaple), Alex Priest (Bideford), Garin Price (Newton Abbot), James Mattin (Exmouth), Dan Armstrong (Exmouth).