Greater Birmingham have included 12 newcomers in their squad for the opening match in this season’s Three Counties Championship against Shropshire at Bournville’s Avery Fields ground on Wednesday January 16 (7.45pm).
Hooker Ben Findon, tighthead prop Nicholas Rigg, lock Sam Rhodes, flankers Ethan Channer and Nathan Fisher, wing Alton McUry and centre Lewis Beatty will all make their debuts in the starting XV with Jordon Pogson, Anthony Hughes, James McCarthy, Oliver Leigh and Tom Wane set for their first appearances off the bench.
McUry and Leigh are the two representatives of the host club in the Greater Birmingham squad which has been selected from 10 of the city’s clubs.
Shropshire have included eight debutants in their squad with flankers Clive van Rensburg and Alex Morrison and tighthead prop Charlie Hill and centre Tahu Nikora all in the starting XV.
Siphiwokukle Bakeni, Will Rogers, Ash Bithell and James Morgan are set to make their county debuts as replacements.
Worcestershire & Herefordshire, the defending champions, will begin their title defence with a trip to Shrewsbury to face Shropshire on February 6 (8pm).
Worcestershire & Herefordshire will then host Greater Birmingham at Stourbridge on February 20 (8pm).
The top two teams in the group will contest the final at Telford Hornets on March 13 (8pm).
The Three Counties Championship is contested annually by the three Domestic Unions which comprise North Midlands RFU.
15 Joel James (Sutton Coldfield); 14 Tom Burrows (Sutton Coldfield – captain), 13 Lewis Beaty (Birmingham Exiles), 12 TG Clarke (Handsworth), 11 Alton McUry (Bournville); 10 Ben Morgan (Sutton Coldfield), 9 Tom Lee (Old Saltleians); 1 Pete Phipps (Old Saltleians), 2 Ben Findon (Edwardians), 3 Nicholas Rigg (Old Saltleians), 4 Ryan Lee (Old Saltleians), 5 Sam Rhodes (Warley), 6 Nathan Fisher (Warley), 7 Ethan Channer (Aston OE), 8 Leigh Griffin (Yardley & District).
Replacements: Jordon Pogson (Warley), Julius Hunt (Aston OE), Anthony Hughes (Old Saltleians), 19 Dom Woodcock (Old Saltleians), 20 James McCarthy (Birmingham CS), 21 Oliver Leigh (Bournville), 22 Tom Wane (Warley).
15 Nathan Smart (Bridgnorth); 14 Tom Riley (Harborne), 13 Dave Hartshorne (Newport), 12 Tahu Nikora (Bridgnorth), 11 Luca Owens (Whitchurch); 10 Tom Cookson (Shrewsbury), 9 Scott Mackenzie (Newport); Conor Madden (Bridgnorth – captain), 2 James Yeomans (Bridgnorth), 3 Charlie Hill (Telford Hornets), 4 Simon Price (Newport), 5 James Chatto (Bridgnorth), 6 Clive Van Rensburg (Newport), 7 Alex Morrison (Newport), 8 Liam Derry (Shrewsbury).
Replacements: 16 Stu Edwards (Bridgnorth), 17 Siphiwokukle Bakeni (Newport), 18 Will Rogers (Bridgnorth), 19 Ash Bithell (Wolverhampton), 20 James Morgan (Bridgnorth), 21 Simon Evitts (Shrewsbury), 22 Pete Thomas (Newport).