IVYBRIDGE centre Lewis Paterson is the only Plymouth Combination player to make Devon’s starting line-up for their opening County Championship match against Somerset at Teignmouth on Saturday (3pm).
Paterson’s club colleague Dom Loomes is among the forward replacements but no other representatives from clubs in the Plymouth region make the 22-man squad.
However, Devon’s party does include ex-Albion players Wayne Sprangle, Dan Williams, Steve Perry and James Harris, as well as former Plymouth development players Dean Avery and Chey Bryce.
Devon, who reached six Twickenham finals between 2000 and 2008, have not won a game since their relegation from the top tier of county rugby in 2010 but they are hoping that will change this season.
They have built their squad and coaching staff around the five Devon clubs who played in National Three South West during the 2015-16 – Exmouth, Barnstaple, Brixham, Ivybridge and Newton Abbot.
Ivybridge’s Paul Setter is one Devon’s five coaches. His son, Cameron, would have almost certainly played had he not broken his leg playing for Plymouth Albion against Hartpury College.
Experienced flanker Sprangle will be coming up against his former county on Saturday in the Division Two South clash at Teignmouth.
He made his Devon debut against Somerset two years ago when they narrowly lost 20-15.
“I played against Somerset a couple of years ago up at Bridgwater,” said Sprangle. “But the game did not go our way that day.
“This time around, though, we should be stronger and definitely more prepared because we have been training together for the last three weeks and had a couple of games under our belt.
“The guys are buying into it and we have had good numbers at training.
“I think we are in a much better position to perform on Saturday and I am really looking forward to it.”
If Devon could win their pool they would secure a return to the top flight of county rugby and get the chance to play at Twickenham.
“It would be nice to have a day out at Twickenham at my tender age of 33,” said Sprangle. “That’s something I have not ticked off the bucket list, so it would be nice to do that.
“I’ve played sevens there but it would be nice to play XVs there.”
DEVON TEAM TO FACE SOMERSET
15 Dan Powell (Exmouth)
14 Will Topps (Barnstaple)
13 Lewis Paterson (Ivybridge)
12 Mark Wathes (Exmouth)
11 Ollie Rice (Exmouth)
10 Steve Perry (Barnstaple)
9 Jordan Petherbridge (Barnstaple)
1 Isaac Dalton (Exmouth)
2 Dean Avery (Newton Abbot)
3 Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot)
4 Adam Thomas (Brixham, capt)
5 Jack Fahy (Exmouth)
6 Dan Williams (Torquay)
7 Wayne Sprangle (Tiverton)
8 Sam Thomas (Brixham).
Replacements: Chey Bryce (Brixham), Nigel Berry (Exmouth), Dom Loomes (Ivybridge), Alex Smith (Newton Abbot), James Harris (Exmouth), Dean Squire (Brixham), George Meadows (Exmouth).