IN the absence of seasoned internationals Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes, South Devon-born back-rower Sam Simmonds had some very big boots to fill.

As he lined up for England against Italy on Sunday, flanked by four of his Exeter Chiefs’ colleagues, a nation held its breath.

Staff and players at Teignmouth RFC, where Simmonds played as a youngster, could not contain their pride on social media.

He duly delivered, in scintillating fashion, helping the visitors to a 15-46 victory in Rome.

Full story in the Friday, February 9 edition of the Mid-Devon Advertiser / Teignmouth Post – which also includes:

SWIMMING – Woolley and Perkin named swimmers of the year

DARTS – British Legion open up gap at top of table

HOCKEY – Ashmoor Ladies beat team who pipped them to the title

RUGBY – Teignmouth run out of energy and ideas

FOOTBALL – Buckland Ladies hit the goal trail