IVYBRIDGE will have three players in Devon’s squad for their vital match at Kent on Saturday (3pm).
Devon head to Medway knowing a point might be enough to secure them a place at Twickenham and promotion back to the top tier of county rugby.
The Greens and Whites sit top of Bill Beaumont Cup Division Two South with a maximum 10 points out of 10 after beating North Midlands 50-18 away and Somerset 39-10 at home.
Kent are the only team that can deny them a trip English rugby’s HQ, but they would need to win by more than 25 points or claim a four-try victory and deny Devon a bonus point.
Kent, though, are bringing in their big guns for Saturday’s match, including Blackheath’s points machine Freddie Gabbitass, who once played for Plymouth Albion.
Devon are without any Barnstaple players but that does give an opportunity for Ivybridge’s Tom Scoles to come on to the bench, alongside his club team-mate Dom Loomes.
Although a point should be enough, Devon know they cannot go with that attitude.
“We need one point to get to Twickenham, but we will be going there to win,” said one of Devon’s coaches Dan Parkes. “We are not going to go there just trying to get a point off them.”
Fellow coach Steve Perry, who will miss Saturday’s game, added: “I think the lads have got a lot of confidence out of the first two games. They just have to take that confidence, energy and enthusiasm into this weekend and concentrate on performance and just see what happens.
“I have seen a video of Kent and they look a good side. It should be a good contest.”
To be so close to reaching Twickenham is exciting, but the Devon coaches are hoping the players do not lose focus.
“If you’ve never played at Twickenham before then it is a phenomenal experience,” said Perry.
“If the team focus on performance and bring energy, hopefully, the result will happen. But we don’t know what Kent will produce on Saturday.”
Former Albion player Perry has started Devon’s opening two games but in his absence on Saturday his place will go to Exmouth’s George Meadows.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for George Meadows,” said Perry. “He played really, really well when he came on for the second half last week. He also played the second half of the first game. He’s a great guy to come in and he’s had a fantastic season for Exmouth. I think he’ll play very well and the team will do great.”
Perry helped Devon win the 2004 County Championship and scored a try in the final against Gloucestershire.
He also played at Twickenham for Cornwall.
Yet he knows if Devon do achieve their goal this weekend then there is no guarantee he will be recalled to the squad. However, he is not worrying about that.
“If I am not playing this weekend and George plays well then he deserves to keep the shirt and I might not get back in,” he said. “But I’m happy with that. I am really enjoying coaching the side – that was the main reason I wanted to be involved.”
DEVON SIDE TO FACE KENT
15 Dan Powell (Exmouth)
14 Tom Goodman (Brixham)
13 Lewis Paterson (Ivybridge)
12 Mark Wathes (Exmouth)
11 Ollie Rice (Exmouth)
10 George Meadows (Exmouth)
9 Matt Ryan (Exmouth)
1 Issac Dalton (Exmouth)
2 Dean Avery (Newton Abbot)
3 Nigel Berry (Exmouth)
4 Adam Thomas (capt, Brixham)
5 Jack Fahy (Exmouth)
6 Alex Smith (Newton Abbot)
7 Wayne Sprangle (Tiverton)
8 Sam Thomas (Brixham)
16 Chey Bryce (Brixham)
17 Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot)
18 Dom Loomes (Ivybridge)
19 James Harris (Exmouth)
20 Tom Scoles (Ivybridge)
21 James Mattin (Exmouth)
22 Tom McLean (Brixham).