Exeter Chiefs have named an unchanged squad as they look to secure the first piece of silverware this season with success in Sunday’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Final.
Ricky Pellow’s side advanced into the last eight of the competition having produced an unblemished record on home soil against rivals Bath, Bristol and Wasps a fortnight ago.
Bonus point wins in all three games meant the Devon club topped Group B with 15 points, advancing through to the Ricoh Arena alongside Wasps from their pool.
Now, the Chiefs – who last season lifted the Plate competition – will be looking to build on that impressive form when they open up their account against Northampton Saints in the quarter-finals this weekend.
Skipper Sam Simmonds will again lead the Exeter charge, alongside the likes of younger brother Joe, Pete Laverick, Sam Skinner, Max Bodilly and Matt Jess.
Talented rookies Nick Mason, Dan George and Ted Landry help complete the Chiefs’ squad, alongside the likes of Tom Hendrickson and Harrison Cully.
Team manager Keith Fleming, who alongside Pellow helped to oversee the Sandy Park leg of the competition, is confident the young Chiefs can again deliver on the big stage.
“We were delighted with how the boys went in the group stages,” he said. “We’ve never won all three games before, so to do that shows the strides we have made in the past year. It was particularly pleasing that we were able to do it at Sandy Park, but now we have to raise our game again for this weekend.
“As everyone knows, sevens is a real challenge for players – not just physically, but also mentally as well – you cannot afford to switch off for one minute because you’ll be punished by the opposition.
“Our strength in the group stages was that we started strongly in all three games and we didn’t really take our foot off the pedal. The Wasps game was obviously the hardest test, but the boys showed their character coming back in that game and eventually winning through.”
More of the same will be needed this weekend from the Devonians as they look to give the club a huge boost ahead of the 2016/17 season.
Coach Pellow was full of praise for his players after the Sandy Park leg, but highlighted in particular the contributions of Sam Simmonds, Bodilly and Jess to the cause.
“I thought Sam Simmonds was devastating in the group stages, while the experience of guys like Max Bodilly and Matt Jess really came through,” said Pellow.
“Throughout we played some really good seven and we didn’t use a lot of crash balls, instead we moved it well to the edges and when you get someone like Simmo in space, he can be devastating.
“Also, Nick Mason really stepped up for what was his first taste of the action at this level, so there were lots of positives for us to take into this weekend.”
Eight teams will play for the first silverware of the season in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Finals from 2pm at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday, August 7. For tickets visit wasps.co.uk/tickets
1 Sam Skinner
2 Sam Simmonds (capt)
3 Pete Laverick
4 Joe Simmonds
5 Nick Mason
6 Max Bodilly
7 Matt Jess
8 Tom Hendrickson
9 Jamie George
10 Dan Frost
11 Ted Landry
12 Harrison Cully