RUGBY PREVIEW: Luke Smith to make his debut for Newton
Newton Abbot are set to give Luke Smith an unexpected debut at scrum-half in tomorrow's National Three South West clash with visiting Redingensians.
Smith has been playing for Devon One neighbours New Cross this season, although he is a product of the Newton Abbot youth system.
Having seen brother Josh pin down a regular place in the Newton Abbot 1st XV over the past two seasons, Luke has decided he wants some of that action for himself.
And with regular starter Matt Newman still sidelined due to injury, Smith's return to Rackerhayes could not have been better timed.
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"Luke approached us about coming back as he wanted a higher standard of rugby," said Newton's director of rugby Roy Henderson.
Smith will form an all-new half-back pairing with Stephen Ward, who moves up from midfield in place of Rob Avery-Wright.
Captain and No.8 Ben Cole is out due to an injury sustained playing for the British Police, but with flank forward Jason Keenan fit again it has been a relatively straight-forward job reshuffling the back five.
Brixham are looking forward to another crack at Exmouth, even though they have lost to the Cockles twice already this season.
Brixham player-coach Ian Morgan said his side can go out and play in freedom, which may give them the edge.
"Exmouth have promotion aspirations and the pressure is on them to beat us to keep them alive," said Morgan. "We are sixth with no aspirations at all and, whatever the result, we will still be sixth. The lack of pressure on us means we can be relaxed about the way we play."
Brixham hope to have Tom Goodman back in the 18 and he should get a run in the backs during the 80 minutes.
Morgan is likely to drop himself in favour of Ben Lovell, who was rotated to the bench for the previous game against Chippenham two weeks ago.
Barnstaple will not be rolling over easily for leaders London Irish Amateurs, according to team chief Kevin Squire. "We were competitive against them at our place, as we were for an hour against Exmouth last Saturday," said Squire. Colt Calum Sumner continues at scrum-half as James Bath is away with England Colleges.
South West One strugglers Paignton have parted company with head coach Charlie Mahon ahead of their home game against Oldfield tomorrow. Mahon was told on Wednesday night his services were no longer required by the Cherrie, who have only won once since Christmas.