British and Irish Cup 'massively important' - Baxter

Sam Hill
Chiefs youngster Sam Hill will play for the Cornish Pirates in the British and Irish Cup

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter says the British and Irish Cup is a great way for his club's young players to make a start to their rugby careers.

A host of young Chiefs will make their debuts in the cup for Plymouth Albion and the Cornish Pirates on Wednesday.

"For us it's massively important that they come through as decent Championship players," Baxter told BBC South West.

"If they're decent championship players they can step up to Premiership rugby."

The Chiefs had five players in the recent England Under-18 side that played Australia in Sydney.

Among the dual-registered Chiefs youngsters getting game time are Jack Nowell and Henry Slade at Plymouth Albion while Charlie Walker-Blair, Sam Hill, Lloyd Fairbrother and Tom Cowan-Dickie will play for the Pirates.

"Until they push themselves and prove that they're good Championship players they're not going to be able to progress," Baxter said.

And with many of the Chiefs current Premiership squad having played in the Championship, Baxter is confident that it is the best grounding for his young players.

"We, more than any other club, probably know that good Championship players can make become good Premiership players, so the challenge for our academy guys is to become those kind of players," he said.