Exeter Chiefs sign Waratahs captain Dave Dennis

Exeter Chiefs have signed Dave Dennis

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Exeter Chiefs have signed current Waratahs captain Dave Dennis for the next three years.

Dennis will follow in the footsteps of another former Waratahs captain Dean Mumm with his Exeter Chiefs signing. Mumm captained Exeter last year but then returned to Australia and featured for the Wallabies in the world cup.

Dennis will join Queensland Reds prop, Greg Holmes at Exeter who are currently second in the Premiership.

With 93 NSW Waratahs caps to his name, the 30-year-old Club Captain has already left a lasting legacy, inspiring teammates with his professionalism and leadership qualities.

Highly regarded in the squad for his determined approach and commitment, Dennis has played every single one of his Super Rugby games for NSW following his debut back in 2007.

After making his Wallaby debut in 2012, Dennis became one of only two players, together with Nathan Sharpe, to feature in all 15 Tests played that year. He has earned 18 international caps for Australia.

Dennis said he was comfortable with making the decision now having made a big contribution to the club.

“It was a really hard decision because I’ve been here my whole career, I’ve spent ten years here. I could easily stay here until my career ended but I’ve always wanted to challenge myself in a different environment.

“I’m not getting any younger and, with the transition of Michael (Hooper) into the captaincy, I’m really comfortable with the way I’ll be leaving the club at the end of the year, and I think that’s really important.

“I wanted to announce this early in the year so it wasn’t a distraction for myself or anyone else. Now I can just put that aside and really focus on what we want to achieve this year as a team, which for me is the number one priority.

“I look forward to looking back next year and seeing a lot of the young guys we have in the squad this year, like Jed Holloway and Jack Dempsey, really progressing and pushing forward, being consistent players for the Waratahs. For me it will be really satisfying to say I played a small part of that,” Dennis said.

Dennis has been a recognised role model within the Waratahs for several years, winning the NSW Waratahs Player’s Player ‘Matthew Burke Cup’ in 2012. He was subsequently named as the NSW Waratahs Captain in 2013.

Despite being forced to the sidelines with anterior cruciate knee ligament damage during the Waratahs’ inaugural Super Rugby Championship year in 2014, he continued to play a key role as a mentor.

His humility was recognised that year with the Waratah Medal, awarded by the Head Coach, CEO and Chairman to the player who best represents the values of the NSW Waratahs both on and off the field.

The resolute skipper fought his way back on to the park, taking himself all the way to the US for rehabilitation, a gruelling process that paid off as he guided the club all the way to the semi-finals last year in yet another impressive season for the Waratahs.

Exeter Chiefs Head Coach, Rob Baxter admits he sees a lot of similarities in new signing Dave Dennis to that of former Exeter Chiefs skipper Dean Mumm.

“When you look at the make-up of our squad, he’s got the right experience we want to recruit and the right leadership qualities which will be important because we have got some young players within the squad that we need to bring through,” Baxter said.

“Yes, there are lots of similarities with Dean, positional-wise they can both play lock or in the back-row.

“They’ve both come from the Waratahs and, as I said, I’ve spoken to Dave, spoken to Dean, and they would have spoken themselves, and for me it’s a comfortable and very good fit.”

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