Rugby

Briant appointed Ivybridge’s captain ahead of pre-season clash with Services

CHARLIE BRIANT has been appointed Ivybridge’s new captain for the 2018-19 season.

The Devon player, who is comfortable at centre or full-back, takes over the club role from prop Matt Finn, who, like Mitch Pinkus, is currently training with Plymouth Albion.

Briant will officially begin his new position on Friday evening when a strong Ivybridge side take on Devonport Services at the Rectory (7.15pm).

With Ivybridge having pulled out of last weekend’s match against National Two South side Taunton due to availability issues, Friday’s fixture with Services will be their toughest before they open their South West Premier campaign against Camborne on September 1.

“We do have a few boys to come back in,” said Ivybridge coach Lewis Paterson. “I think we are missing four or five, but Friday will definitely be one of our strongest squads. We have to get ready for Camborne.”

He added: “Devonport have been promoted and are now in the league just below us. They are a good local side and there is that sense of rivalry there.

“I don’t think they are going to field a weak side – they are going to be very up for it – so it will be one of our strongest tests in pre-season.

“We have played Kingsbridge, who have a good pack, and they held their own. Plymstock also did well, but Devonport are of the calibre now where we know it is going to be a big game.”

Ivybridge hosted Services last pre-season and won 24-14 after finishing the game strongly.

“Last year we probably started with more fringe players and then finished with a stronger side,” said Paterson. “But Devonport have progressed since then and they have some very talented players.”

Paterson said it was disappointing Ivybridge had to pull out of their trip to Taunton last Saturday, but due to injuries, Broadmasters and a club wedding they did not have enough availability.

“We don’t ever want to let a team down, we are not like that as a club, so it was disappointing to have to pull-out as that would have been a fantastic test, but we have to move on,” said Paterson.

Ivybridge do not know yet if Finn and Pinkus will return from Albion, but Paterson says the club are happy for them to gain experience at Brickfields.

“Matt started for Albion against Bedford last Friday,” said Paterson.  “And myself, Trips (fellow coach Jamie Tripcony) and all the players at the club are really proud of Matt. He’s involved with them again this weekend against Exeter University.

“He is training with a National One club, getting good experience and being around good players and if he does come back then he will add that to our young team. The more experience our senior lads can get, the more rewards we’ll reap.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for him. It’s the same with Mitch. He’s definitely a player that can play at that level.”

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