Chiefs pair sign new deals

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has spoken of his delight after two more of his squad penned new contracts with the Aviva Premiership Rugby newcomers.


Forwards James Hanks and James Scaysbrook have followed the lead of team-mates Tom Johnson, Gareth Steenson, Brett Sturgess and Haydn Thomas in committing their futures to the club for a further two years.


Baxter has made no secret of the fact that he is keen to tie down a number of his current first team squad, many of whom have made the transition up from the Championship to Premiership.


Both Hanks, 26, and Scaysbrook, 29, played leading roles in last season’s promotion drive and this term the duo have continued to showcase their talents within English rugby’s top flight.


Commenting on the new agreements, Baxter said: “These are guys who, like some other guys who have signed, have been key for us in our rise into the Premiership and the way we have started this season.


“They embody the hard work, ethic and culture we like at the club. I think it’s very important you have that as the core of what you’re about first and then you try to add to it.


“What’s very important to me is that we get a core of players here signed and then when we bring anything in there’s a culture set in place those players can add to and feel part of.”


To date both players have started every Aviva Premiership Rugby game so far for the Chiefs, who currently sit ninth in the current standings.


Baxter added: “It’s nice to be signing players who are going to add to an improved team and who are going to improve as individuals. I’m really pleased with these two signings; it’s another step in the right direction for us. I like us being settled in the second half of the season, I think it brings the best out of the side.


“We will be pretty settled with the signings we’re making now, that’s going to be important because it’s going to be tough enough without us having players running around wondering what their future is.”


“James is a guy who every level we step up to seems to thrive on it. Some players are like that, they adapt very quickly and they relish playing in those better scenarios. It’s the same with Scays, he’s come in and is a good leader within the side. He works tremendously hard; he’s a good influence on the players around him. Both of them are very important signings for us.”


As one of the club’s longest-serving players, Hanks made his debut against the Cornish Pirates in 2005, he has seen plenty of change at the Chiefs over the years. It’s a club, however, that is close to his heart and he admits he did not have to think too long about re-signing.


“If you look at the way the club has progressed in the last 10 years, but particularly these last two or three years, we have made great strides and I think everybody wants to be part of that. I am no different and I feel very lucky to be involved here.


“It’s good that I’ve got my future sorted out nice and early because it will allow me to focus on my game and nothing else. We’ve got a lot of rugby left this season, so I know there is still plenty of hard work to put in.”


Like Hanks, former Bath flanker Scaysbrook is another who feels that life at Sandy Park is like home from home.


He said: “As soon as I came to Exeter I felt settled here. Obviously we are a club that are moving forward and I could see that from the first time I came down here and met Rob. As time has gone on, I have just felt that more and more and I really want to be part of the future of the club.


“Personally, I’m really pleased to have secured my future here for another couple of years. As I said, I feel very settled and I love being here.”


“The set-up is great; the boys are great and the coaching is really good; it’s just a great place to be at the moment.”

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