Matawalu leaves Bath for Chiefs

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 07:49
Large nikomatawalusevens

NEWS: Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes new signing Niko Matawalu can add some real ‘X-Factor’ to his backline.

The Fijian international will head to Sandy Park from Premiership rivals Bath Rugby and will join up with his new teammates once the current internationals are concluded.

Equally at home either on the wing or at scrumhalf, Baxter believes the 27-year-old is a great addition to the Chiefs make-up and is excited at what he can bring to the club moving forward.

"Initially Niko [Matawalu’s] joining until the end of the season," said Baxter.

"Initially we want to have a good look at him and then we’ll see if there is an opportunity beyond that.

"As a club, we’re really looking forward to bringing him here. We had a good look at him previously when he first decided to move on from Glasgow to Bath, but now the opportunity has arisen for us to sign him and it’s come at the right time for us.

"We’re not expecting him to be 100 per cent straight away as he has had a relatively lengthy injury, but he’s fully fit now, he’s ready to play, and we’re hoping he will get some good game time during these autumn internationals to help get him right up to speed,"

Having come up against Matawalu in action for both Bath and Glasgow Warriors in the past, Baxter is well aware of the threat posed by the livewire back, who has won 28 international caps for his country.

"He’s an exciting player, someone you describe as an ‘X-Factor’ type player," added the Chiefs leader. "He’s someone we feel will add a bit of sparkle to what we are wanting to achieve here at the club.

"As I said, he can play on the wing or at scrumhalf and we’ll certainly look at him in both positions. Right now I think he’s what we are looking for as I think he will add that little bit of energy and sparkle to things.

"Having met Niko and seeing the energy he exudes just in walking around and talking, I think he will be a very good fit for us,"

Matawalu’s arrival will signal a fourth Fijian to have joined the Chiefs ranks during the Premiership era, following in the footsteps of Sireli Naqelevuki, Josh Matavesi and Nemani Nadolo.

The 27-year-old has made 13 appearances during his time at Bath Rugby, with injury hampering Matawalu’s game time over recent months.

"I have enjoyed my time here at Bath very much," said Matawalu. "However, this is a good opportunity for me to get more game time with Exeter, and so it is the right step for me to further my career. I’d like to thank everyone at Bath for their support, and wish them all the best for the future."

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, added: "Niko has been a great character to have around the squad, but we understand that he would like to get more game time and wish him well,"

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 09 December 2016
Northampton Saints v Leinster 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 10 December 2016
Ulster v Clermont Auvergne 13h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Leicester Tigers 15h15 Thomond Park
Racing Metro v Glasgow Warriors 16h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Saracens v Sale Sharks 17h30 Allianz Park
Zebre v Toulouse 20h45 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Sun, 11 December 2016
Wasps v Connacht 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Montpellier v Castres 14h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulon v Scarlets 16h15 Stade Felix Mayol
Exeter Chiefs v Bordeaux 17h30 Sandy Park
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 10 8 0 2 38
Wasps 10 8 0 2 37
Bath 10 8 0 2 35
Leicester Tigers 10 7 0 3 31
Exeter Chiefs 10 5 1 4 30
Gloucester 10 3 2 5 23
Harlequins 10 5 0 5 22
Newcastle Falcons 10 5 0 5 22
Northampton Saints 10 4 0 6 20
Sale Sharks 10 3 1 6 18
Worcester Warriors 10 1 2 7 10
Bristol 10 0 0 10 4