Chiefs get Roberts on loan

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 08:34
Large martin roberst wales 800

NEWS: Exeter Chiefs have strengthened their options at scrumhalf with the addition of Welsh international Martin Roberts.

The 30-year-old has joined on loan until the end of the season from Premiership rivals Bristol Rugby and will help supplement the halfback area with the Chiefs currently without the injured trio of Will Chudley, Dave Lewis and Niko Matawalu.

In welcoming Roberts to Sandy Park, head coach Rob Baxter said: "People are aware where we stand at the moment because of significant injuries to both Will Chudley and Dave Lewis – and don’t get me wrong I think the young lads [Jack Maunder & Stuart Townsend] are doing very well – but we thought we were leaving ourselves a little bit short on numbers and we have to make sure we are able to put quality options onto the field, particularly if we pick up another injury.

"Obviously, we have been having a look around for a little bit and Martin has become available. He’s the ideal candidate we were looking for, just because he’s had good experience of the Premiership before, likes to play at a high tempo, and someone who we hope to get up to speed very quickly.

"He fits the bill perfectly for us and he’s going to be here until the end of the season where hopefully we can give him some opportunities to get some practice minutes under his belt pretty quickly.

"As I said, it’s not that we are not pleased with the people we have here currently, but we need to be able to cover ourselves. In a lot of ways Martin can be a very good influence on the team and the other scrumhalves that he is working with.

"I am really pleased to get someone in of such a good calibre so quickly and hopefully he can have a really good influence between now and the end of the season,"

Roberts himself is looking forward to the challenge ahead and says he cannot wait to get stuck into life at the Chiefs.

"I’m massively excited and looking forward to doing my bit in what should be an important part of the season,” said Roberts, who includes both the Ospreys and Scarlets amongst his former clubs, as well as stints in the Premiership with Northampton Saints, Bath and Bristol.

"The Chiefs are going very well at the moment, so hopefully I can come in and help add to that and get some game time really,"

Having faced his new employers on a number of occasions in the past, including this very season for Bristol at Ashton Gate in the Premiership, Roberts is well aware of the threat the Devon club pose to rival opposition.

"Over the last couple of years the Chiefs have really taken the Premiership by storm and done tremendously well.  This year is no different, they are again up at the top end of the table, so I’m looking forward to it all.

"I know the Premiership well, it’s a great competition to play in, and I’ve played against Exeter quite a few times in the past. They are always a tough side to come up against – they are a team that like to play with the ball, score a lot of tries, and they showed that again at the weekend against Wasps."

Roberts knows, however, that breaking into the Exeter squad will be no formality, adding: "They’ve got some great nines down here already, so I know I will have to come in, work hard and wait for my opportunity which, when it comes, I know I will then have to take with both hands.

"As I said, if I can help add something to the group and keep Exeter pushing forward, then that has to be the main aim initially for me,"

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