EVAN Mitchell will start at fly-half for Coventry Rugby in tomorrow’s Premiership Rugby Cup round three visit to Hartpury at the Alpas Arena (kick-off 2.30pm).
The 21-year-old comes into Alex Rae’s starting line-up to replace Pat Pellegrini who received a call-up to Tonga’s World Cup squad last weekend.
Rae makes three other changes behind the scrum to the side that was pegged back to a 21-all draw at the Stoop against Harlequins.
Last week’s two-try star Will Rigg moves to the bench to allow Lucas Titherington an outing in the centre where he partners the in-form Will Wand.
Summer signing Tobi Wilson makes his first competitive start for Coventry on the left wing while experienced scrum-half Will Chudley returns to the side after recovering from a sore back with Ollie Betteridge among the replacements.
Cov also make changes in all three rows of the scrum among which loosehead prop Elliot Chilvers and ex-Gloucester no.8 Jack Bartlett join Wilson in making their first appearances in the run-on team.
On the right-hand side of the front row, Eliot Salt and Ollie Andrews swap bench and starting shirts while George Smith and Tom Ball respectively step in for the rested Rhys Anstey and the suspended Tiki Nayalo at lock and no.8.
Back-rower Chester Owen and lock Obi Nkwocha will make their competitive Coventry debuts should they appear from the replacements bench while fit-again hooker Will Biggs is in line to make his first appearance of the season from the bench.
Hartpury’s cup campaign began with a defeat at Harlequins and a win at Nottingham to sit fourth in pool A three points adrift of Coventry and Harlequins who in turn trail unbeaten Gloucester by a further three points.
Rae said: “Hartpury are always difficult opponents especially away from home. They are well coached and playing them is always a tough challenge.
“We’re paying them exactly the same respect that we paid Harlequins and Saracens.
“We’re enjoying this cup competition and as I said straight after the game at Quins our draw there and the win over Saracens don’t count for much if we don’t go to Hartpury and back those performances up.”
Coventry’s squad to play Hartpury
Starting line-up: James; Hutler, Wand, Titherington, Wilson; Mitchell, Chudley; Chilvers, Poole, Andrews; Tyas, Smith; Ryan, Ball, Bartlett.
Replacements: Biggs, Trinder, Salt, Nkwocha, Owen, Ogden, Betteridge, Rigg.
Coventry’s clash with Hartpury takes place on Saturday, September 23 with kick-off at 3pm at the Alpas Arena.