RUGBY UNION - Pellegrini named in Coventry squad for Premiership Cup opener against Saracens - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Pellegrini named in Coventry squad for Premiership Cup opener against Saracens

Aaron Sutcliffe 8th Sep, 2023 Updated: 22nd Sep, 2023   0

NEWLY-capped Tongan international Pat Pellegrini returns to Coventry Rugby’s starting line-up for the club’s Premiership Cup opener against Saracens.

Following an outstanding 2022/23 Championship season, during which he played a key role in his club’s third-place league finish, the exciting fly-half spent much of his summer in Tonga’s World Cup training camp.

The Australian-born 23-year-old now makes his return in Cov’s first round of Premiership Rugby Cup action against reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens, after missing the club’s pre-season fixtures.

Head Coach Alex Rae names Pellegrini outside influential scrum half Will Chudley in a half-back axis which last season proved so pivotal to the blue-and-whites’ ability to break down defences.

There are also few surprises in the remainder of the back division where Will Wand who scored twice against Birmingham Moseley in Cov’s final pre-season outing gets the nod to partner powerhouse Will Rigg in midfield.

Summer signing Ryan Hutler makes his competitive debut for his new club on the right wing.

Up front, Rae has opted to retain the starting eight that performed so well at Billesley Common with four summer signings to feature.

On-loan lock Rhys Anstey, prop Eliot Salt, experienced former Worcester and Gloucester flanker Matt Kvesic and new USA international Paddy Ryan are all named in the run-on team.

Young half-backs Will Lane and Evan Mitchell join six forwards on the bench.

Rae said: “We’ve had one eye on this game against Sarries since the pools were announced and we found out who our first home game was against.

“As the week has progressed you can feel the excitement building within the squad. It sounds like there’s going to be a big crowd and those are the occasions you want to be involved with.

“As a coach or player you want to test yourself against the best and Saturday gives us the chance to do that.”

Coventry’s squad to play Saracens

Starting line-up: James; Hutler, Wand, Rigg, Martin; Pellegrini, Chudley; Trinder ©, Ma’asi, Salt; Tyas, Anstey; Ryan, Kvesic, Nayalo.

Replacements: Poole, Chilvers, Andrews, Smith, Bartlett, Lane, Mitchell, Ball.

Coventry’s clash with Saracens takes place on Saturday, September 9 with kick-off at 4pm at Butts Park Arena.

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