Five Cockles players in Devon Under-20 squad

Sidmouth at home to Kingsbridge. shsp 49 18TI 6071. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth at home to Kingsbridge. shsp 49 18TI 6071. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Exmouth have five players involved with the Devon squad who will begin their Jason Leonard Under-20 County Championship campaign on Sunday (February 3) when they travel to St Austell to take on Tamar rivals Cornwall (1.30pm).

The five Exmouth players (Nick Headley, Sam Fulthorpe, Dan Armstrong, Callum Wood and Tom Cooke) are joined in the squad by Withycombe’s Finlay Marks, Topsham’s Tom Oxland and Sidmouth’s Asipeli Vea.

The Green and Whites have returned to the top flight of county rugby after winning promotion with an impressive campaign last term, which ended with two players – Max Keen and Mitch Pinkus – earning England Counties Under-20 honours.

Devon’s success last season has encouraged even more players to try to make the county side this time around.

More than 50 players from 26 different clubs attended two open training sessions to make the under-20 squad.

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“We had incredible numbers and not one player looked out of place, which is a credit to the depth of clubs in Devon,” said under-20 head coach Lewis Paterson.

“The quantity and quality made it very tough to narrow down.”

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Devon have a training squad of 35 players for this year’s County Championship campaign, with players coming from 17 different clubs.

A team of 23 will be selected for each of their three games, starting with Cornwall on Sunday.

They will then host Gloucestershire at Crediton RFC on Sunday, February 24 (2.30pm) and entertain Hampshire at Ivybridge on March 17 (2.30pm) in their other group games.

Paterson knows a trip to Cornwall will be tough, but he says the squad and the coaching staff are really excited about getting their campaign underway.

Devon’s 2019 Under-20 squad: Harry Groves (Devonport Services), Tom Gosling (Teignmouth), Nick Headley (Exmouth), Sam Fulthorpe (Exmouth), Thomas Tabb (Plymstock Albion Oaks), Harry Ottaway (Newton Abbot), Dan Armstrong (Exmouth RFC), Callum Wood (Exmouth RFC), William Throgmorton (Newton Abbot), Tom Cooke (Exmouth RFC), Reece Bartlett (Devonport Services), Owen McLeod (Newton Abbot), Archie Cruze (Exeter College AASE), Liam Jarvis (Devonport Services), Joel Broadhurst (Teignmouth), Tom Oxland (Topsham), Nathan Davies (Ivybridge), Wes Vermingle (Ivybridge), Owen Garner (Ivybridge), Daniel Johnson (Taunton Titans), Marcus Prout (Ivybridge), Jay Toogood (Ivybridge), Bradley Down (Hartpury), Troy Willis (Barnstaple), Lewie Riley (Ivybridge), Ethan Pearce (Crediton), Jacob Smith (Exeter Athletic), Martinas Dromantas (Barnstaple), Asipeli Vea (Sidmouth), Finlay Marks (Withycombe), Toby Turner (Kingsbridge), Callum Davies (Bideford), Will Lamont (Ivybridge), Adam Northcott (Ivybridge), Robin Luscombe (Ivybridge).

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