Chiefs squad for Premiership Rugby 7s
By Mark Stevens
Ricky Pellow says there is genuine excitement amongst his Exeter Chiefs group who have been selected for this weekend’s Premiership Rugby 7s at Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens.
In what has now become the annual curtain-raiser to the domestic season, the Devonians will travel to the East Midlands looking to lay down a marker of sorts against their rivals from across the Premiership.
Max Bodilly skippers a youthful Chiefs squad, which includes first-team squad members such as James McRae, Joe Snow, Sam Maunder, Harvey Skinner, Sam Morley and Barrie Karea.
All of them have been hard at work in recent weeks shaping up for the new season, which kicks-off on Saturday, September 21 with a home encounter against Bath in the opening round of this season’s Premiership Rugby Cup.
The remainder of the squad is made up of youngsters linked to the University of Exeter, but who will provide genuine speed, mobility and quality to Pellow’s squad, who will tackle both Gloucester and London Irish during Friday’s opening night of action.
All-action back-row forward Ollie White is among the pick of the group, having in the past featured for Wales at various age group level, and he is joined by the likes of Luke Mehson, Jordan Bond, Charlie Fetney and Arthur Realton, the latter of whom is a product of the club’s academy base at Truro College and who has spent this pre-season training with the Chiefs first team.
“I think we’re already now to start playing again,” said Pellow. “We’ve had a good build-up and every club will say their pre-season has gone well, but in truth they don’t really have anything to measure it against until now.
“For all the clubs, it will be good to get the guys out on the field, play some rugby, and just get some decent game time into them.
“Our squad this year is a lot younger than previous years, but I think it’s exciting to see them come into pre-season, test themselves and now play on what will be a very big stage for a lot of them. At the same time, it’s also the first chance for all of them to put on an Exeter Chiefs shirt this season and show what they can do.”
Pellow added: “Every year I get excited about the Premiership 7s and I can see from the group we’ve put together, all of them are really excited about getting out and showing what they can do.
“Anyone who has ever seen or played 7s, they know it’s a tense environment and that players will get tested from the very first minute. Your skills have to be spot on and you’ve got to be willing to work hard and fight for everything. We’ve done a lot of hard work on our hand/eye co-ordination and now we’ve just got to go out and really front up.”
The Premiership Rugby 7s offers the chance to see the next generation of rugby stars go toe-to-toe, with talented youngsters from all 12 clubs mixing it with seasoned campaigners ahead of the new season in a fiesta of free-flowing rugby.
After the pools are completed on Friday evening, Saturday’s matches will start at 2.30pm and see the top eight ranked teams contest the Cup quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, the remaining four sides will head into the Plate semi-finals as they bid to lift some early-season silverware before the tournament concludes at 6.45pm.
Rugby won’t be the only attraction over the weekend with the Gardens becoming a hub of activity, opening its gates from 4.30pm until 10pm on the Friday and 1pm until 8.45pm on the Saturday.
Tickets for the 7s weekend are available by clicking here
EXETER CHIEFS SQUAD FOR PREMIERSHIP RUGBY 7s
1 James McRae
2 Joe Snow
3 Ollie White
4 Sam Maunder
5 Harvey Skinner
6 Sam Morley
7 Max Bodilly (capt)
8 Luke Mehson
9 Arthur Realton
10 Jordan Bond
11 Charlie Fetney
12 Barrie Karea