Chiefs Squad 2009 - 2010

Chiefs Promotion

The club, who play at Sandy Park in Exeter, will find themselves competing against the country’s leading teams and some of the world’s top players next season in their inaugural season in the top flight of English rugby.

Exeter Chiefs share strong links with the University of Exeter, with the two organisations working closely together for mutual benefit for a number of years now.

The Chiefs reputation as a leading rugby club plays a major role in attracting talented young players to the University. Many of the University’s current rugby scholars train regularly with Exeter Chiefs, whose coaching resources and facilities have formed an invaluable part of the development of many Exeter students over the years. It is testament to the success of the rugby programme at the University of Exeter that many alumni have gone on to play professional rugby after leaving full-time education.

The University Men’s Rugby Club are part of the University’s very successful High Performance Unit, led by Assistant Director of Sport responsible for Performance and Competitions Nick Beasant. On the Chiefs recent promotion Beasant commented, “On behalf of the University of Exeter I would like to extend my congratulations to everyone involved in this fantastic finish to what has been a great season for Exeter Chiefs. The club has developed hugely in recent years and I look forward to seeing Premiership rugby being played in Devon for the first time.”

The Chiefs current Head Coach, Rob Baxter, was formally a coach with the University’s Men’s team where, as Director of Rugby, he led the University to a BUSA (British Universities Sports Association) Final at Twickenham in 2004.

As a further example of the Chiefs close ties to the University, the University’s current Director of Rugby, Keith Fleming, is also the current Community Development Manager at Exeter Chiefs. On Exeter’s promotion to the Guinness Premiership, Fleming was understandably delighted, commenting “this is a fantastic achievement for the club. It is the result of many years of hard work both from the players on the pitch and the many staff behind the scenes. The strong relationship between the Club and the University is mutually beneficial to both and long may it continue.”

The Chiefs won promotion to the Premiership thanks to a sensational 38 – 16 aggregate score in a two leg play-off with local rivals Bristol who have competed in the Premiership themselves in previous seasons. Promotion caps a fantastic season for the Chiefs which saw them finish in second place behind Bristol in a competitive Championship league. The promotion-winning squad included three University of Exeter alumni in Neil Clark, James Hanks and Hadyn Thomas who all played influential roles in the historic victory. All three were sport scholars during their time as students at the University and benefited from the strong working relationship between the Club and University.

Other key members of backroom staff involved in the Chiefs promotion-winning campaign were Tony Walker, the University’s Head Coach and the Community Development Manager at Exeter Chiefs and Dave Maclellan, Lead Physiotherapist for the University’s High Performance Programme and Physiotherapist for the Chiefs.

The University’s Rugby Club compete in BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) and their relationship with the Chiefs helps the side to maintain a competitive edge against their rivals, many of whom benefit from similar relationships with local professional outfits. The University team play their annual varsity fixture at the Chiefs purpose-built 10,000 capacity stadium, Sandy Park. Every year the stadium is taken over by students for an inter-university fixture to raise funds for charity in what is always a great occasion and well supported by students and the community alike.

Date: 15 June 0010