Exmouth head coach Steve Perry looks ahead to the Devon Cup final

PUBLISHED: 14:33 17 April 2019

Jake Inglis about to touch down with what was a first try on his Cockles debut in the win at Cleve. Picture TIM RIDGEWAY

Jake Inglis about to touch down with what was a first try on his Cockles debut in the win at Cleve. Picture TIM RIDGEWAY

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Exmouth head coach Steve 'Pez' Perry is looking forward to Saturday's Devon RFU Cup final at his old stomping ground of Barnstaple with a mix of emotions.

He explains saying: “The overriding feeling is that I will be taking our team into a contest in which, genuinely, we have nothing to lose. It will, of course, be good to see old friends again, but I shall certainly be hoping that, post match, it is our team, the Cockles faithful and myself who have the bigger smile on our faces!”

The Cockles qualified for the cup final by virtue of their results across the league season against other Devon clubs.

Perry says: “They [Barum] are a quality side and deserved to finish as runners-up to Bournemouth.

“In terms of Saturday's meeting, with it being Easter we are, unfortunately, without a considerable number of senior players to such a degree that we will only have a handful, four or maybe five, on duty at Barnstaple.

“However, as I always say, one player's absence offers an opportunity to another and, as we saw at Cleve in our final league game, we do have some talented younger players who will no doubt benefit hugely from the experience that they will gain from playing in a cup final.”

He continued: “It's a great venue and there will no doubt be a terrific atmosphere, the like of which some of our younger lads will not have come across, but again, as I say, they will benefit hugely from the all-round experience this game affords.”

As for that final game at Cleve and the 38-20 success, Perry says: “It was very pleasing. The fixture afforded us the opportunity to give game time – and that vital component 'experience' – to a number of lads who have yet to play at senior level.

“A key thing at this particular stage of a young player's development is that when they do step up into senior action the one thing they struggle with is decision-making, but that comes with experience and the only way we will see if our young players can indeed 'make it' at 1st XV level is to give them their chance when the opportunity presents itself.”

Back to Saturday's cup final, the Cockles will train as usual on Thursday night to finalise their planning for Saturday.

Perry says: “We go there as underdogs, but that certainly does not mean we go there 'to make up the numbers'!

“Far from it, we are going there with a positive mindset, determined to enjoy it, and also give it our best shot and see what happens.”

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