Appleby adds international duo

Exeter Chiefs Women's head coach Susie Appleby alongside her new recruits Gabby Senft (left) and Hope Rogers (right) at Sandy Park this week

By Harry Scott-Munro

With the race for the top four well and truly on in the Allianz Premier 15s, Exeter Chiefs Women’s Head Coach Susie Appleby has bolstered her side for the rest of the season with the signings of international pair Hope Rogers and Gabrielle Senft.

Prop Rogers and back-row Senft arrive with international experience under their belts for the USA and Canada respectively, while Rogers also recently represented the Barbarians against South Africa at Twickenham.

“It’s been exciting watching the Chiefs play in the first half of the season,” explained Rogers. “I think you can tell that this team is special, and I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of it.”

It was a feeling echoed by Senft who admits that she is looking to bring “experience, passion, hard work and good vibes to the team!”

Both Rogers and Senft have been able to settle into the squad quickly, with a number of their international colleagues already at the club. Both players highlighted just how much that familiarity had helped them settled in, with Rogers explaining how the likes of co-captain Kate Zackary had spoken to her about how much she “loves the team training and environment.”

Rogers and Senft arrive with the Chiefs well in the mix for the play-off places. Whilst Senft has previous top league experience with Bristol Bears, she admits that “the competition has only gotten stronger” since she last played in it.

“I played in the Premier 15s three years ago with Bristol, but I’ve been watching ever since I left and am looking forward to playing in the best league in the world right now! Susie made it clear what would be the standard of the environment, the coaching staff, expectations and team culture and I’m excited to hit the field as a Chief.”

For Rogers, it was the opportunity to test herself against the best and continue to develop herself as a player, that was also a factor in her decision to make the switch to Sandy Park, with the World Cup now beginning to come into view.

“The league is very competitive and has high quality rugby week after week. You can definitely see that from watching the games too,” she highlighted. “I truly enjoy the game and I think you can see that in my play. I’m hoping my hard work around the field will help create momentum swings or maintain momentum for the team.”

Speaking of her two new recruits, Head Coach Susie Appleby was thrilled that both Rogers and Senft have committed to the club.

“I’m really pleased to welcome them both to the Chiefs. We’re ready to support them both as they prepare for the world cup,” she added.

“Hope is going to bring a robust carrying game with real dynamism but also is a real stopper in defence. She’s already bringing her personality to the squad and is going to be a fantastic addition. For us, the back row is really competitive. To bring an experienced player like Gabby to Chiefs is going to up the ante at training and really add to the quality of our squad, at a crucial time in the season.”

Both players will be looking to make their mark for their new side throughout the rest of the season, with a potential first opportunity against Harlequins on Sunday to show what they can do.

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