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Chiefs coach over the Moon

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 14:53
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He’s learning right in the heat of the battle
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Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes there is "more to come" from Ben Moon after the loosehead prop agreed a new two-year contract with the Premiership club on Thursday.

Since making his debut for the Chiefs in 2008 at home to Sedgley Park, the 23-year-old forward has continually been developing his game under the guidance of Baxter and the Exeter coaching staff.

And it has been a steady progression for Moon, who to date has amassed 81 appearances in total for the Devon club. In recent times, though, he has shown significant improvement, featuring regularly in the Premiership, as well experiencing European rugby in both the European and European Challenge Cup competitions.

“He’s learning right in the heat of the battle and playing sides like Clermont Auvergne and Leinster is fantastic for a young prop," said Baxter.

"We’re seeing those gradual improvements that we’ve talked about, he’s getting decent game time now and it’s his game time that will see his development accelerate."

Working closely with the former Cullompton youngster, Baxter says it's great to have the former England Under-20 international on the books at Sandy Park for another couple of years.

Baxter added: “We like having Moony around, he’s a good member of the squad, a good trainer, a professional guy and we can see improvement in him that will keep coming in the future.

“It’s one of the easy ones for us. He’s a local guy and this is the club he should be playing professional rugby for. We want to help him become the best player he can be over a period of time and I’m sure Ben feels the same.”

Indeed, Moon is himself delighted to have agreed new terms with the Chiefs.

“I’m really happy to have signed on for another two years, the Chiefs are a great club and being part of what they have achieved over the last few years has been very special," said Moon.

“Playing in competitions like the Premiership and the European Cup is what it is all about as a player and having experienced both those things, I want to experience more of that here at the Chiefs.

“I feel I have improved a lot over the last few years. Playing with and against some of the best players in the game is bound to improve you, but at the same time I still feel there is a lot more to come from me."

Moon is one of a number of current Chiefs' players who have recently penned new deals with the club - and he feels having that continuity within the ranks moving forward will be key to Exeter's future progression.

“It’s good that a lot of the boys are committing themselves to the club," he added. "We’ve been through a lot over the years and hopefully we can achieve even more together over the next few years. I’ve always said I enjoy life here at the Chiefs, so as soon as Rob offered me the chance of another two years I was more than happy to sign on again."

In recent weeks, Moon has been handed the Exeter No.1 jersey following an injury to team mate Brett Sturgess and Baxter says the battle for the starting spot is something he is keen to have amongst all his players.

“In pre-season Moony was doing really well and was pretty much there, getting the nod,” added the Exeter boss.

“We went with Sturge and he put in some good performances to keep Moony at bay. That said, we’ve also got Carl Rimmer who’s playing well at loosehead, so we’ve got various options there. Luke Cowan-Dickie is also a very good loosehead as well as us looking at him as a hooker.

“There’s a lot of competition there and that’s important, not just when you have injuries but for keeping players fit and on their toes. Sturge is around the club every day training very hard at the minute because I think he knows he’s going to have to be training flat out to get back in the team. That’s the kind of competition you want and strength in depth you need if you want to have decent seasons.”

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