Yeandle set to join 100 Club
By Mark Stevens
Exeter’s famous centurions board is set for another addition this weekend with club captain Jack Yeandle poised to join an illustrious list of names.
The all-action hooker will mark his 100th Premiership appearance by leading the Devon club into battle against high-flying Newcastle Falcons at Sandy Park tomorrow (3pm).
Signed from Championship outfit Doncaster Knights back in the summer of 2012, the Exeter-born forward has over the years established himself as a key figure within the Chiefs ranks, both on and off the field, and admits this latest milestone is something he never expected when he first stepped into the Sandy Park changing rooms.
“It’s pretty special. We’ve got a centurions’ board by the changing room and it’s nice to know that my name’s going to be on that board if I get on the pitch,” he said.
“It’s a nice achievement that everyone looks to do. I certainly didn’t think that when I made my first few appearances here that I would get anywhere near it, so it’s nice to know that hopefully I’m going to hit it, and that my name’s going to be there forever more.”
Although Yeandle had to initially bide his time for a role within the Chiefs first team ranks, once he debuted against London Welsh in an LV= Cup tie in November 2012, it would kick-start a hugely exciting spell in the 27-year-old’s playing career.
Since then, Yeandle has been part and parcel of the rise of the Chiefs, the highlight of which came back in May when - together with the long-serving Gareth Steenson - he lifted the Premiership trophy at Twickenham following the club’s extra time victory over Wasps.
“It’s been a pretty decent few years,” he said. “We’ve seen some special things. It’s not just the stuff you achieve on the field, it’s also the things as players you get to do off the field, to do with changing rooms and away trips.
“It’s the memories that people don’t see that are the real special moments that stick out for me. There’s been some pretty good times we’ve had together so far, and hopefully there are few more to come yet.”
Milestone aside, Yeandle’s key focus for tomorrow however will be that of trying to get the Chiefs back on the straight and narrow following their 20-13 reverse to Leicester Tigers a week ago.
Ahead of kick-off, the captain has come out firing, insisting he and his team-mates must be ready to meet the challenge of the in-form Falcons head on, particularly given they are on home soil and keen to ensure they head into the upcoming European block with a morale-boosting victory under their belts.
Yeandle added: “We got a losing bonus point at Leicester. A few years ago we’d have been over the moon with that, so that shows where we are as a club now – the fact we were pretty frustrated to let that go.
“We never really pushed ourselves to the limits, and that’s going to be a big thing against Newcastle, making sure we let it all out. I think the boys achieved that against Wasps, so maybe there was a bit of a hangover from that. But being back here at Sandy Park, hopefully we can be prepared to get uncomfortable.”
Dean Richard’s Falcons outfit, however, have made a blistering start to the Premiership, winning four and losing just once so far, and Yeandle is expecting a tough afternoon of rugby.
He said: “They’ll have absolutely nothing to lose this weekend. Full credit to them, they’ve picked up some decent results.I think it’s down to their attack strength that they’ve had and built on over the years.
“They’ve got some dangerous individuals in their team that are doing a lot of damage for them, so we’ve got to use our defence as a weapon and hopefully nullify any threats they throw at us.”