Atkins bids farewell to the Chiefs
By Mark Stevens
Ollie Atkins insists Exeter Chiefs will forever live long in his heart as he this week bid fond farewell to the Gallagher Premiership club.
The Australian is one of ten players who are departing Sandy Park following the culmination of the 2018/19 campaign, which ended with Rob Baxter's side narrowly missing out on Premiership glory with defeat in Saturday's final with Saracens at Twickenham.
Atkins, 30, joined the Chiefs back in the summer of 2015 from Edinburgh and has proved a popular member of the first-team squad, not only with his team-mates, but the coaching staff and club's support base as well.
He departs Devon having played 59 times for the club, 39 of which have come in the Premiership where he scored his one and only try against Worcester Warriors in April 2016.
Taking to his Twitter account, the Sydney-born lock said: "Thank you @ExeterChiefs for making the last four years so incredible. Can’t wait to see what comes next for such an amazing group of men! Exeter you have been amazing, now on to a new adventure."
That new start will lead Atkins to France, where he is set to feature in the second tier competition for Rouen.
Alongside Atkins, others leaving the Chiefs are Santiago Cordero, Paul Davis, James Freeman, Onehunga Kaufusi, Tom Lawday, Moray Low, Jack Owlett, Toby Salmon and Harry Strong.
Like Atkins, others took to their social media accounts to express their thanks.
Cordero said: "Finishing this amazing season. I want to thank everyone (staff, players and fans) for how well they looked after me! I have very nice memories and wish you the best for the future."
Salmon added: "Come to the end of an amazing two years with the @officialexeterchiefs. Have met some incredible people and made some great memories."
Freeman said: "That’s a wrap on Exeter....Thanks to everyone involved, it’s been a unbelievable two years."
Owlett added: "I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the club and supporters for the last 3 years. My time with @officialexeterchiefs has come to an end and it has been an incredible journey. It has been a privilege and honour to be part of such a special team. Thank you to the coaches and players for making my time so memorable and enjoyable."