New lock star Salmon aim­ing for big catch

The Rugby Paper - - Anglo-welsh Cup - ■ By MIKE SIN­CLAIR

TOBY Salmon is aim­ing to fol­low the Anglo-Welsh Cup route which helped pro­pel Ex­eter No.8 Sam Sim­monds to the cur­rent Eng­land squad.

The 6ft 5ins 18st 8lbs 24-year-old lock, who ar­rived from Rother­ham Ti­tans in the sum­mer, is rel­ish­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and look­ing for­ward to today’s visit to Scar­lets af­ter mark­ing his Cup de­but with two tries off the bench in the 43-28 drub­bing of Northamp­ton last week­end.

“It’s fan­tas­tic,” said Salmon. “I’m re­ally en­joy­ing my time here. The guys are fan­tas­tic and it’s good to get some game time in com­pe­ti­tions like this.

“The A-League gives you good game time but when it comes to get­ting first-team ex­pe­ri­ence this is re­ally good.”

At 24, Salmon has come a lit­tle late to the top flight but that does not bother Ex­eter di­rec­tor of rugby Rob Bax­ter, who has a proven track record of sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing play­ers from the Cham­pi­onship.

Prop Harry Wil­liams, who ar­rived from Jer­sey as a 23-year-old in the sum­mer of 2015, has been nur­tured to the stage where he is now part of the Eng­land squad for the Au­tumn internationals.

Other cur­rent Chiefs for­wards with a Cham­pi­onship pedi­gree in­clude Wales prop To­mas Fran­cis, re­cruited from London Scot­tish, for­mer Jer­sey hooker Elvis Taione, Shaun Mal­ton from Not­ting­ham and Mitch Lees from London Welsh.

In tan­dem with pro­duc­ing younger play­ers through the Chiefs academy – full-back Sal M’Boge and his re­place­ment Sam Mor­ley both made their se­nior de­buts in the win over Northamp­ton, along with sum­mer sign­ing Tom O’Fla­herty from Brid­gend and flanker James Free­man from Jer­sey – it is prov­ing a highly-ef­fec­tive for­mula.

Salmon added: “Every­one has re­ally in­vested in these com­pe­ti­tions as an im­por­tant part of our pro­gres­sion as a club. A lot of us have been play­ing A-League and guys like my­self who are new to the club have been wait­ing to get to get op­por­tu­ni­ties so this com­pe­ti­tion is good for us.”

Luke Cowan-Dickie and Dave Ew­ers re­turn to the squad fol­low­ing longterm knee in­juries along­side Aussie in­ter­na­tional Greg Holmes, who is in­cluded for the first time this sea­son.

With 15 play­ers on in­ter­na­tional duty and a num­ber rested for the brace of PRO14 games in South Africa, Scar­lets have named a youth­ful side with 14 of the start­ing XV 25 or un­der.

Tight­head Si­mon Gar­diner and lock Tom Price add ex­pe­ri­ence to a squad that brings to­gether the re­gion’s best up­com­ing tal­ent along­side ex­cit­ing prospects from Car­marthen Quins, Llan­dovery and Llanelli.

Chance: Toby Salmon

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