- England Counties pair in East Midlands squad
- North Midlands set for Devon test
East Midlands have included England Counties internationals Lewis Barker and Joe Burton in their squad for their first match in the County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup Second Division North against Northumberland at Towcestrians on May 4.
Coventry scrum half Barker and Loughborough Students flanker Burton return to the East Midlands fold following the decision to step up to the Bill Beaumont Cup from the County Championship Shield.
Players from National League clubs are ineligible to play in the Shield but there are no such restrictions in the Bill Beaumont Cup which has allowed East Midlands to welcome back a number of players who first played county rugby in their Under 18 and Under 20 sides.
Coventry back row forward Brett Daynes will captain East Midlands who also include two members of last season’s Midlands Under 20s squad in Coventry centre Heath Stevens and Cambridge full back DeLaRey Veenendaal.
But scrum half Ross Kevan misses out because he suffered a hand injury at work during the week and Michael Cade of Old Albanians is unavailable because he is getting married next week.
East Midlands also have a new coaching team headed by Mark Kefford of Old Northamptonians and supported by Bedford Blues scrum half Ian Vass and Andy Phillips of Bedford Athletic.
North Midlands host Devon at Stourbridge in the Second Division South of the County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup.
North Midlands will give debuts to Moseley lock Liam Mather and Birmingham & Solihull hooker Finn Sinclair who have been named in a squad that also includes strong contingents from National Two North clubs Bromsgrove and Luctonians.
In the County Championship Shield Warwickshire, who beat Buckinghamshire in their opener last week, are strengthened by the inclusion of seven Sutton Coldfield players in their squad for the home match against Essex at Coventry on May 4.
Brook Davies, brothers Tony and Mike Worthington, Alex White, Rob Watts, Marcus Harewood and Josh Groom were unavailable last week because they were playing in a promotion play-off against Harrogate.
Tony Worthington and Harewood are in line to make their debuts against Essex.
Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire travel to Penrith to face Cumbria having been trounced 81-3 by a powerful Leicestershire side at Newark last weekend.