WILL Rigg will make his Exeter Chiefs debut and Richard Capstick returns after a long-term injury as the Devon side face United Rugby Championship side Scarlets in a friendly at Sandy Park tomorrow (2.30pm).
Rob Baxter has named a varied starting line-up with a further 18 players on the bench to receive some game-time during the international window.
In the front row, Max Norey captains the side at hooker, with Danny Southworth at loose-head prop and Ehren Painter at tight-head.
Rusi Tuima partners Jack Dunne in the second row, with Capstick on the flank alongside Matt Postlethwaite, with Hallam Chapman at eight.
Stu Townsend brings experience at scrum-half as Iwan Jenkins starts alongside him at fly-half.
New signing Rigg gets his first run-out in Chiefs colours, with a start in the centre, with tThe former Coventry man paired with Zack Wimbush.
The back three sees Josh Hodge get some valuable game-time at full-back following his return from injury, with Olly Woodburn and Arthur Relton on the wings.
Baxter is pleased that the fixture will provide valuable time on the field for members of the wider Chiefs squad, as well as ensuring vital first-team players remain game-ready during the Six Nations break.
“There’s a few things we’d like out of this weekend’s fixture. We’ve got a couple of boys back who haven’t had any game-time yet, so it’ll be great to see a guy like Richard Capstick back in there. It’s a great opportunity for him as he was playing well and starting to come through as a front-line player for us before his injury.
“Another name will be Will Becconsall who’ll get some game time, which will be fantastic. We’ll also get to see Will Rigg for the first time, and it’ll be valuable time for Zack Wimbush, Arthur Relton and Josh Hodge as well.
“It’s an opportunity for our extended squad, so we’re starting with a bit of a mix and match squad – a mix of youth, experience and some returning players.
“We’ve got the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final next week, so if we hadn’t have put a friendly in then we would have been looking at an extended period without any rugby. The one thing you know about the boys, especially some of the bigger ones, is that too long without running around and playing is not necessarily the most productive way for them to be passing their time.”
It is not a conventional bench by any manner of means with 18 players named – an even split of nine forwards and nine backs.
For the front row cover there are hookers Louie Gulley and Jack Yeandle; and props Billy Keast, Patrick Schickerling, Josh Iosefa-Scott, and Marcus Street.
The second and back row could then call upon Lewis Pearson, Eoin O’Connor and Jacques Vermeulen.
In the backs, the half-back duo is covered by Will Becconsall, Joe Snow, Harvey Skinner and Louie Sinclair.
The remainder of the back-line could then be replaced by Ollie Devoto, Ben Hammersley, Charlie McCaig, Kian Gentry and Chester Ribbons.
Exeter Chiefs: Josh Hodge, Arthur Relton, Zack Wimbush, Will Rigg, Olly Woodburn, Iwan Jenkins, Stu Townsend, Danny Southworth, Max Norey (capt), Ehren Painter, Rusi Tuima, Jack Dunne, Matt Postlethwaite, Richard Capstick, Hallam Chapman. Replacements: Louie Gulley, Jack Yeandle, Billy Keast, Patrick Schickerling, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Marcus Street, Lewis Pearson, Eoin O’Connor, Jacques Vermeulen, Will Becconsall, Joe Snow, Harvey Skinner, Louie Sinclair, Ollie Devoto, Ben Hammersley, Charlie McCaig, Kian Gentry, Chester Ribbons.