Baxter encouraged by Chiefs work ethic

Exeter Chiefs forward Jacques Vermeulen gets stuck into pre-season training, testing his tackle technique with team-mate Dan John at the club's Sandy Park training base

By Mark Stevens

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, says he has been encouraged by the work being put in by his squad as they ready themselves for the rigours of the 2022/23 season.

Now into Week Three of their pre-season programme, the Chiefs squad have certainly been put through their paces already, combining work at the club's Sandy Park Stadium with that of physically demanding sessions at the nearby Exmouth Beach, as well as a two-day flog with the Royal Marines at the nearby Commando Training Centre at Lympstone last week.

Although shorn of his international stars, plus those recovering from summer surgery, it's been a strong and powerful start to pre-season for the Devonians, who will kick-off their Gallagher Premiership campaign on September 10 with the visit of reigning champions Leicester Tigers.

Baxter has watched on with real interest as his team of coaches, including new defence supremo Omar Mouneimne, have got stuck in putting together the plans for Exeter's assault on European and domestic glory.

"The energy and atmosphere from the lads has been fantastic," said Baxter. "Omar is settling in now, we have had some really good defence sessions and some really good setting the scene team meetings.

"To me, it reminds me of a pre-season from like our first four or five years in the Premiership when the guys just turn up and are looking forward to the season. It feels like one of those pre-seasons where everyone turns up and wants to do something special."

Among those training with the squad are newcomers Aidon Davis, Jack Dunne, Rory O'Loughlin and Ruben van Heerdon. Baxter is also running his eye over former Harlequins and Wasps lock Charlie Matthews, who is back in this country following a stint playing in Japan.

Sign up to the Chiefs Newsletter

To receive a copy of the Exeter Chiefs Newsletter, please enter your email address below. You will then receive an email to confirm that you wish to receive it. You can unsubscribe at any time simply by following the link at the bottom of the email.