Head coach Paterson thrilled with response to open under-20 session

12 Jan 2019 12:15 | Sara Raine

HEAD coach Lewis Paterson was thrilled with the turnout for the first open Devon under-20 training session at Ivybridge this week.

Nearly 40 players turned up and more are expected at next Wednesday’s second open session (DETAILS AVAILABLE HERE).

After that, Devon will then select a squad to go forward to prepare for the Jason Leonard Under-20 County Championship.

“We had incredible numbers and not one player looked out of place, which is a credit to the depth of clubs in Devon,” said Paterson.

“We also have more players to come in who couldn’t make the first, many who are already well established at this level.

“We have to thank all the clubs and their coaches who are supporting the county and putting their players forward.”

Paterson feels the fact that two Devon players – Mitch Pinkus and Max Keen – were selected to tour Georgia last season with the England Counties Under-20 squad has helped encourage more players to come forward.

“It is a huge incentive,” said Paterson. “We said that at the end of the session. We told them that the door is never closed on their rugby careers. To have players like Mitch and Max last year lead the way in terms of going on tour with England was great, but there was also the likes of Robin Luscombe who got picked for South West honours.

“There are always doors opening; they are never shut for these young lads. This is a fantastic pathway for them to keep motivated and have honours and opportunities to play at a really good level.”

Paterson and Nathan Gosling are again part of Devon under-20s coaching staff, but they have been joined by former Plymouth Albion and Launceston forward Jamie Tripcony.

“It is brilliant to have someone like Jamie involved,” said Paterson. “He has got huge county experience for both Devon and Cornwall. He played at Twickenham for Devon as a 19-year-old.

“Nathan Gosling is back again after having a huge influence last year we have great background staff. A lot of people have invested into the county and that showed last year.”

Devon were promoted back to the top tier of under-20 county rugby last season. They will open their Division One campaign away at Cornwall on February 3.

They will then play Gloucestershire at Crediton on February 24 and Hampshire at Ivybridge on March 17.