Dennis signs new deal
By Mark Stevens
Dave Dennis hopes to be part of a bright future at Sandy Park, this after he today put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs.
Brought to Devon back in the summer of 2016 from his native Australia, the former Waratahs forward has already played a significant role in helping bring success and silverware to the Chiefs.
He capped his first season in England by helping his new club to become Premiership champions for the first time in the club’s history, defeating Wasps after extra-time at Twickenham. Then, last season, he was on the winners’ podium again, featuring in Exeter’s Anglo-Welsh Cup Final win over Bath at Kingsholm.
Now, the 33-year-old says he is targeting yet more success with the Chiefs, who are setting their sights on reaching a fourth successive Premiership Final come June.
“Whenever you play, you want to be part of a successful team,” said Dennis. “I’ve been lucky to have had some success already with the club, but there is still lots we want to achieve over these next few years.
“Winning the title that first season was obviously pretty special, but what I’ve appreciated since is the way we’ve just continued to keep chasing things. This is my third season at the club, but our focus and our goals, they’ve not changed at all. All the time we’re striving hard as a group to get better and do well in every competition we enter.”
Although injuries hampered much of Dennis’ second season with the Chiefs, the 18-cap Wallaby has returned to full fitness this season, once again underlining his worth to Rob Baxter’s plans with some notable, hard-hitting displays.
His on-field work has been clearly noted by Director of Rugby Baxter, who knows the Sydney-born forward offers so much, on and off the field for the Chiefs.
And Dennis himself is glad to have his immediate future tied down, adding: “It’s always nice to get your future sorted out. Playing professional rugby is a great lifestyle and it’s an opportunity to see a bit of the world, but there is always that little bit of uncertainty about what happens next when contracts are up for renewal.
“I know I’m not getting any younger, but at the end of the day it’s nice to put everything to bed and know that I’ll be here for a couple more seasons.”
Not that Dennis believes his extended deal will be an easy ride in either the Premiership or Heineken Champions Cup moving forward.
“I have a huge amount of respect for both competitions,” he said. “I think the Champions Cup is globally accepted as being the ultimate club competition in the world. At the same time, the Premiership gets harder and harder each year.
“Even my first year here, I was surprised just how tough it was. The teams are getting better, the physicality is always there, the skills levels are very high, and you can see that players from all four corners want to come here and play, so that’s a fair reflection of how respected the competition is.
“As I said, the Chiefs is a fantastic club and it’s a great set-up to be part of. These first three years have just flown by, but I think all of us want to keep kicking on achieve things. As a player, that’s the culture you want to be in and it’s where I play my best rugby. That in the end was what swayed me in my decision to stay here.”
Dennis is the latest in a number of current Chiefs to commit their futures to the club, although Baxter has said he will be adding a couple of new faces. Scotland and British Lions full-back Stuart Hogg is the first confirmed arrival, whilst others are expected to be confirmed in the not too distant future.