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Lewis agrees Chiefs move

Thu, 14 Feb 2013 14:36
Robbaxter
Dave will really add to the mix
Quote-end

Scrumhalf Dave Lewis will be donning the colours of Exeter Chiefs next season after he agreed a move from Premiership rivals Gloucester.

Having joined the Cherry and Whites as an 18-year-old back in 2007, the 23-year-old admits he is relishing his new opportunity at Sandy Park having agreed a two-year deal with the Devon club.

Although born in Manchester, Lewis is no stranger to life in the Westcountry having lived in North Devon with his parents and having honed his early rugby skills at Ivybridge Community College alongside current Chiefs coach Rob Gibson.

His senior career, however, took off in 2007 when he agreed a one-year deal with the Kingsholm club and combined his rugby development with a course in Sports Coaching and Conditioning at Hartpury College – Gloucester’s training base.

The talents of Lewis – who has represented England at Under-16, 18 and 20s level – were clear to see and quickly he established himself within Gloucester’s first-team ranks, where he has since gone on to make 88 appearances for the club.

However, Lewis says the time is right to take on a new challenge and having spoken to Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter, he admits he was sold on the idea of furthering his playing career with Exeter.

“It’s never easy to say goodbye at any time, but I do feel the time is right for me to try a new challenge and going to the Chiefs will hopefully bring the best out of me,” explained Lewis.

“It’s exciting and I am really looking forward to the move. In a strange way it’s like going home for me because I still have my family and a lot of friends down in Devon.

“The Chiefs are a side that I’ve kept an eye on for some time, especially since they got into the Premiership, and they are a team who play with a lot of attacking intent, pace and they play a good brand of rugby.

“I’ve really enjoyed all my time at Gloucester. Not only have I got to make a lot of good friends, but I’ve got to play with some fantastic players and in some very big games over the years. Also the supporters up there are second to none and as a player it’s great to have that kind of support behind you each week.”

As from next season, though, Lewis will be looking to make his mark with the ambitious Chiefs. He added: “I knew a bit about the place already, but having talked to Rob [Baxter] I liked what he had to say and the direction the club is taking. My parents have also kept me informed about things like the stadium redevelopment, so even from the outside you can see the club is making positive steps on and off the field.

“Since they’ve come into the Premiership they’ve shown they have a real good work ethic within the group and that they are a tough side to beat.

“Also you can see it’s a very professional environment and that they’ve got some great players within the squad. As I said, I’m looking forward to the move and being part of what is a very strong squad."

Welcoming Lewis to Sandy Park, Baxter himself spoke of his delight at recruiting the talented No.9.

“Dave is a young guy with bags of Premiership experience already and things have changed a little bit at Gloucester with Jimmy Cowan turning up there,” he said.

“He’s a local guy and if he was based at Ivybridge now in our academy, he would never have gone through our fingers and would be playing at Exeter so it’s nice to get a local lad back.

“He’s a solid performer in the Premiership, he’s shown that plenty of times, he’s been part of exciting, attacking teams and his attributes are very good for the side.

“We’ve got Haydn and Will Chudley under contract who are very good attacking, high-tempo scrumhalves and I think Dave will really add to the mix there.

“He’s certainly coming down to try to challenge for a starting spot and that’s what we want, we want as many players in each position who can push on and try to prove something within our squad.”

Meanwhile, Director of Rugby Nigel Davies confirmed that Lewis still has a key role to play for Gloucester for the rest of the season.

“I firmly believe that Dave needs to be playing, he’s a quality player. But with Jimmy [Cowan] coming here, and the way Dan Robson has been playing, it’s been difficult for him to get starts and opportunities.

“Sometimes, when you have a lot of players in one position, this is what happens. But, he’ll have a big part to play for the rest of the season and it’s great to have a quality player like Dave to call upon.

“He’ll be looking to finish here on a positive note and, when the time comes, we’ll wish him all the best. He’s been a great servant, a really good pro on and off the field.”

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