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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