Three former Exeter Chiefs are preparing for the Rugby World Cup with an epic challenge to scale the highest mountain in Western Europe, the imposing Mont Blanc in the French Alps.

Greg Bateman, Phil Dollman and Kai Hortsmann plan to climb the daunting 4,808m peak as part of an initiative to raise funds and mental health awareness for the rugby charity LooseHeadz.

The ambition is to raise £50,000 for the charity and Bateman told the Chiefs website: “Mental health is a notoriously tricky subject to talk about. I speak from experience, despite finding myself in dark head spaces before.

“I feel so passionately that it’s in the safety of social moments we’re going to encourage those who don’t feel able to speak up. Because overcoming this hurdle and opening up is the single best thing somebody can do to get the ball rolling in receiving the support they need.”