Exeter Chiefs lock Tom Hayes has called on new members of the squad to show leadership after the retirement of Richie Baxter.
Baxter hung up his boots at the end of last season after an outstanding career with the Devon side, after 431 appearances for the Chiefs.
Hayes along with Baxter and James Scaysbrook have lead the club during their promotion from the Championship to securing Heineken Cup rugby in back-to-back seasons.
With Baxter now gone and former Wallaby lock Dean Mumm named club captain for the new campaign, Hayes has called on other members of the squad to step up.
"The squad changes every season a little bit with some fellows leaving and new players coming in and that always changes the dynamics of it a little bit," Hayes told the Western Morning News.
"This season is no exception, but we still have a lot of boys who have been around a while who are the mainstays of the squad.
"There is always an opportunity not so much for players like myself but players in their late 20s to step up and take more responsibility with the likes of Richie moving on.
"The likes of me and Scaysy [James Scaysbrook] have been there in that leadership group for a few years now and we are still doing a lot of the stuff we have been doing for years.
"But it is an opportunity for players outside that experienced group to step up now Richie has moved on."
Hayes also has big expectations for the young crop of England players emerging at Sandy Park, including Sam Hill, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Luke Cowan-Dickie, who were all part of the IRB Junior World Championship success back in June.
"The younger boys in the squad are bringing in a huge amount of energy through," added Hayes.
"The lads who came from back from the England Under-20s over the summer have come in with a lot of confidence from it.
"They are not afraid to step up from the mark and it is a shame a few of them have picked up niggling injuries recently, but they are certainly stepping up to the mark and acquitting themselves well."