Baxter delighted with Chiefs' depth
Baxter delighted with Chiefs' depthSHARE
Head coach Rob Baxter has spoken of his delight after another two of his current Exeter Chiefs squad committed their futures to the Devon club.
Forwards James Hanks and Ben White have followed the earlier lead of club-mates Chris Whitehead, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Will Chudley, Phil Dollman and Carl Rimmer in agreeing new deals that will keep them at Sandy Park for a further two years.
Hanks, who has to date made 176 appearances for the club, is one of the club's longest-serving players having first made his debut for the Chiefs back in 2005 against the Cornish Pirates.
White, on the other hand, is still somewhat of a relative newcomer having signed in 2011 from Cardiff Blues. He has so far appeared 31 times for the Chiefs, although his current campaign has been hampered by a knee injury sustained in the home win over Harlequins.
Both men, however, are seen as key figures in Exeter's future and Baxter has wasted little time in tying them down to new contracts.
"It's fantastic for James to be staying around," said Baxter. "My first involvement with him was when he turned up at Exeter University when I was head a coach. We put him straight in the first team and he hasn't looked back since as far as he career in Exeter goes.
"I've watched him play and develop and watched the part he's had to play in Exeter moving forward over quite a long period. It's fantastic that he's still around but also fantastic that he's a good player at this level.
"I think he's still getting better. At 28 he's probably got the best five or six years of his career ahead of him. My role is to make sure he keeps getting better within the Premiership and European Cup environment. What we want from James is for him to keep working hard to help us develop as a side. We know he's a good man among the squad and that makes it a very easy deal for us to do.”
On White, Baxter added: "He's a tough cookie and a different character, the other players will tell you that, but different characters are good within a club.
“He's one of the guys who fits in very well with what we do. He's his own man but his work ethic, the way he trains and the enthusiasm he puts on the pitch, have made him very popular at the club.
"As a coach you like working with players who want to improve, especially those who do it in difficult circumstances. Yes, he's been a little frustrated by his amount of game time, yet he's still one of our top trainers. That says a lot about his character and we're confident there's a lot of good rugby in him.
"Hopefully, as he keeps improving and his opportunities come along, he's going to take one of them and you never know what could happen. If you take an opportunity and play well there's every chance you will stay in the first team."