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Jess and Merryn Chiefs

Merryn Doidge (left) and Jess Thomas (right) in action for EUWRFC

Exeter Chiefs Women’s side launch into their 1st Premiership

Having been awarded a place in the Tyrells Premiership 15s league, Exeter Chiefs women, the 1st ever club’s affiliated women’s team join the Premiership fresh for the 2020-2021 season.

Combining a host of international players and local talent the side has a number of former and current University of Exeter students hoping to step into the match day side this season. Current University of Exeter students Jess Thomas (MSC by Research in Sport and Health Sciences), Merryn Doidge (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences), Flo Robinson (BSc Biological Sciences) as well as alumnae Alex Powell (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences 2013-2016), Kayleigh Armstrong (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences and PGCE 2015-2018) and University of Exeter Head of Women’s Rugby Poppy Leitch (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences 2015-2018) have lined up for Exeter Chiefs in their opening fixtures.

Reflecting on an unusual start to pre-season due to the ongoing impact of COVID 19 Jess Thomas commented “The start of training wasn’t the way we all expected it to look 12 months ago, however we definitely made the best of a bad situation. Small training groups allowed us to really get to know one another and push each other in fitness. Since moving into “stage 2” squad training, it has all started really coming together. There is a real mix between “young blood” and some old heads, you can see how it is developing one another to be the best we can be. Having the chance to build a new squad and a club culture from the ground up is an experience that I’m really enjoying, it truly is a unique opportunity to do so. It’s rare you can come into a completely new side and it allows for us to build something we can all be proud of. Meeting new players that I’ve played against is brilliant, it’s nice to now see a different side of these girls. But the fact there is plenty of girls that I’ve played with since a young age and at University makes the experience even better. I cannot wait to pull on a green and white shirt again, the last 3 years with EUWRFC have truly been the highlight of my rugby so far. It is safe to say I’m super excited for the start of the new season and the new opportunities at Exeter Chiefs”.

Current University of Exeter Sports Scholar Merryn Doidge added “After a good few years at Bristol kicking off my women’s rugby Premiership experience, I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to bring playing Premiership level rugby closer to home. We are growing as a team and individuals, so after several hard and different (COVID 19 style) weeks of training, I’m ready and massively looking forward to the season ahead”.

After a tough start to the season Exeter Chiefs women have won their last 2 games against Worcester Warriors (19-7) and DMP Durham Sharks (31-6). Follow the action for their 4 remaining games before Christmas via twitter @ExeterChiefs and Instagram @officialexeterchiefs.

Date: 24 November 2020