Chiefs challenge excites Armand

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 16:54
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Former Stormers utility forward Don Armand has spoken of his “excitement” at the challenge that lies ahead at Exeter Chiefs.

Newcomer Don Armand has spoken of his “excitement” at the challenge that lies ahead after he completed his move to Premiership side Exeter Chiefs.

The 24-year-old forward has agreed a two-year contract and joins the Devon club from South African Super Rugby outfit the Stormers.

Armand, who can play either at lock or in the back row, made his Super Rugby debut as an injury replacement in 2012 and has not looked back since.

He was part of the squad that won the South Africa Conference, having earlier in the year tasted success with the Western Province Vodacom Cup team and, later in 2012, helping Western Province to the Currie Cup title.

A formidable presence out on the park, Armand says he is now looking to bring his all-action game to the Chiefs, who last season again finished in the top six of English rugby’s top flight.

“I’m very excited by the challenge that lies ahead,” said the Harare-born player. “The club is very professional, the stadium is great and although I’ve not met the fans’ yet, I’ve been on Twitter and they have all been so welcoming. It’s already amazing and everybody has made me feel very welcome.”

Having flown into the UK on Tuesday, Armand has wasted little time in getting to know his new surroundings, as well as his new teammates.

“The lads look a great bunch and the more I look at the games and the more I ask people about the club and the area, the better it feels.

“Coming to England is a new challenge for me, but it’s one I am definitely looking forward too. When I spoke to Rob [Baxter] I had a great chat with him and he told me so much about the club and where it wanted to go. I also asked other people about the Chiefs and they could only tell me good things, so for me there were so many positives and I just wanted to be involved.”

As well as the demands of the Premiership, Armand will need to brace himself for the challenges that lie ahead in both the European Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup competitions.

“It’s pretty full on if you look at the fixtures,” he said. “As a player, though, I think that is what you want. Each week you want to be testing yourselves against the top sides and I think here in England you get that kind of test every time you play.

“Like I said, it’s a new challenge for me – but it’s one I am really relishing. I guess it will be different to Super Rugby, I know the set-piece is more essential over here and that you go into a lot more detail, but it’s like anything if you’re willing to put in the hard yards and get ready for the games, then things will tend to be a lot easier for you and your team.”

But as Armand – a product of Maritzburg College – prepares to start a new chapter in his playing career, he was quick to thank those that he has left behind in Cape Town.

He added: “It was an amazing privilege to be a part of the Stormers family. The Newlands faithful were fantastic and I have so many happy memories. It’s those memories and those good times that can help define you and help you become a better person. Now I hope the same will happen here with the Chiefs.”

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Blues 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 57 | 14
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
PREMIERSHIP
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Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 20 16 1 3 79
Exeter Chiefs 20 13 3 4 74
Saracens 20 15 1 4 72
Leicester Tigers 20 12 0 8 57
Bath 20 11 0 9 53
Northampton Saints 20 9 0 11 48
Harlequins 20 10 0 10 47
Gloucester 20 7 2 11 46
Newcastle Falcons 20 8 0 12 40
Sale Sharks 20 6 1 13 36
Worcester Warriors 20 5 2 13 31
Bristol 20 3 0 17 19