Ricky Pellow is challenging his Exeter Chiefs squad to kick-start the new 2016/17 season with a bang when they take part in this Saturday’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s at Sandy Park.
With the second leg of the annual tournament taking place at the home of the Chiefs for the first time, Pellow is hoping his players can make the most of familiar surroundings and advance to Finals Night at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, August 6.
Looking to build on last season where the Chiefs claimed the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Plate at the Twickenham Stoop, the Devon outfit have assembled a useful mix of youth and experience for their clashes against Bath, Wasps and newly-promoted Bristol.
Winger Matt Jess heads up a powerful Exeter group that also includes the likes of Sam Skinner, Sam Simmonds, Joe Simmonds, Max Bodilly, Pete Laverick, Ted Landry and Tom Hendrickson, all of whom have featured in the tournament previously.
Highly-rated youngsters Nick Mason, Jamie George, Dan Frost and Harrison Cully make up the remainder of the Chiefs squad.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Pellow said: "As a group we’re really looking forward to this weekend, particularly as this year we are playing here at Sandy Park. The Singha 7s is very much part and parcel of our season build-up and, like every competition we enter, our aim will be to go out there and put in a big performance.
"Again this year we’ve assembled a strong squad, but I guess the difference this time is that a lot of those players are another year down their line in terms of their playing development.
"You only have to take Max Bodilly for example, he played in the tournament last year, he went down to the Pirates, but come the end of the season he was very much part of the first team squad and pushing hard for a place in the Premiership and in Europe."
Pellow cites that example, plus that of previous years when the likes of England stars Henry Slade and Jack Nowell have also featured, as the perfect motivation for those youngsters within the Chiefs squad to follow.
"Looking at those who are in the group, I think a lot of them will be looking to use this weekend to help push them towards being part of those first few pre-season games," added Pellow. "Having someone like Matt Jess alongside them, a guy who has played a lot of first team games, will be really beneficial to those younger players.
"They can learn off him, but also from the likes of Max, Sam Simmonds and Sam Skinner, all of whom have done very well in the past at this level."
Tickets for this weekend’s event are still available via the official Chiefs website. Entry to the stadium is from 12 noon and there will be a host of fun-filled activities to help bring together the true ‘Sevens Spirit’ in Devon.
EXETER CHIEFS SQUAD FOR SINGHA PREMIERSHIP RUBGY 7s
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