Hard work paying dividends for Witty
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter insists lock Will Witty is ‘reaping the rewards’ for his hard work with an extended run in the team.
The 26-year-old has started all three Gallagher Premiership fixtures for the Chiefs this season, including scoring in last weekend’s away win at Sale Sharks, and Baxter says his inclusion in the ranks is merited given his work put in during pre-season.
With regular locks Jonny Hill, Jonny Gray, Sam Skinner and Jannes Kirsten all having to sit out the opening weeks through injury and unavailability, Witty has seized the moment to stake his own claim in Baxter’s long-term thinking.
"What you're seeing is a guy who's prepared to work very hard at his game," said the Chiefs’ Director of Rugby. "He's prepared to take on a lot of the comments that he gets on what he needs to work on and he's worked extremely hard at those things and he's reaping the rewards."
That hard work was highlighted in the victory at Sale, where the former Newcastle Falcons forward produced a man-of-the-match performance, which included a wonderful individual score in the second half that was crowned Try of the Week in the Premiership.
"If anything the try, we can sit there and smile about it, and it was great, but Will's game wasn't about the try," added Baxter. "His game was about good set piece, very solid defence, some other good carries when the game was tight and the game was tough, getting up and working very hard.
"Those are the things that made his game good. If the only thing he'd done was score the try he probably wouldn't be playing this week. It wasn't about that - that was the icing on the cake for him on top of a very good all-round performance."