Shropshire have included nine newcomers in their starting XV for the opening match in this season’s Iskitz Three Counties Championship against defending champions Worcestershire & Herefordshire at Worcester’s Weston’s Fields on Wednesday February 7 (8pm).
Only Newport fly-half Peter Thomas, who will captain Shropshire, and his club-mate, wing Dave Hartshorne, have played for the county before in a new-look back division.
In the pack props Connor Madden and Stu Edwards, lock Sam Sergeant and openside flanker Laurence Few will make their county debuts.
There are nine more potential debutants among the 12 replacements from which the bench will be named with Sam Downing, Jim Alderson, Jordan Jones, George Gribble, Simon Price, Tom Riley, Liam Evans, Sam Woodhall and Luca Owen-Youens yet to play for Shropshire.
Last season Shropshire missed out on a place in the final having conceded their match against Greater Birmingham before losing to Worcestershire & Herefordshire at Shrewsbury. Worcestershire & Herefordshire went on to beat Greater Birmingham in the final to retain the title.
The Iskitz Three Counties Championship is contested annually by the three Domestic Unions that comprise the North Midlands RFU and provides county representative rugby for players from outside the National Leagues.
Iskitz, the Malvern-based international sports kit suppliers, are generously sponsoring the Three Counties Championship for a fourth season.
15 Scott Mackenzie (Newport); 14 Nathan Smart (Newport), 13 Jack Pennells (Newport), 12 Brett Dougty (Shrewsbury), 11 Dave Hartshorne (Newport); 10 Peter Thomas (Newport –captain), 9 Rhys Harrhy (Newport); 1 Connor Madden (Bridgnorth), 2 James Yeomans (Bridgnorth), 3 Stu Edwards (Bridgnorth), 4 Richard Hooper (Bridgnorth), 5 Sam Sergeant (Newport), 6 Liam Deery (Shrewsbury), 7 Laurence Few (Newport), 8 Joquin Jiminez (Newport).
Replacements (from): Rob Sankey (Shrewsbury), Sam Downing (Bridgnorth), Jim Alderson (Ludlow), Simon Evitts (Shrewsbury), Jordan Jones (Telford Hornets), George Gribble (Newport), Simon Price (Newport), Tom Riley (Gnosall), Liam Evans (Telford Hornets), Sam Woodhall (Bridgnorth), Luca Owen-Youens (Oswestry), Joe Doyle (Ludlow), Richard Biggin (Newport).