Fixtures - Top Bar

Atkins already settled into Chiefs life

He may well be one of the new kids on the block at Sandy Park, but summer signing Ollie Atkins admits he already feels at home with the Exeter Chiefs.

A team bonding trip to Spain on his first official day with the Devon club allowed the 26-year-old Aussie to quickly get up to speed with his new team-mates following his switch from Scottish Pro12 outfit Edinburgh.

And now a couple of weeks into pre-season, the towering forward is continuing his settling in process by playing an active part during the club’s gruelling pre-season programme under the watchful eye of head coach Rob Baxter.

Keen for a fresh challenge following two seasons north of the border, Atkins – who has also had playing stints back home with the NSW Waratahs and Western Force – acknowledges that the standards being set already in pre-season by the Chiefs is helping to drive his own levels of performance and fitness upwards.

"While the coaches are setting the standards, a lot of it is player-driven standards as well," said Hobart-born forward. "We want to uphold those high standards and as a new guy it is clear what the standards are and you have to uphold them and even add to them as well.

"Everything we do down here is for a purpose. There is no mindless running and it isn’t a mindless slog – it is quite entertaining and quite enjoyable. But when you cross that line in training, it is a buy-in that everyone is going for so everyone is excited to start playing rugby.

"We started going through plays on day one and Ali Hepher is taking us through all the knowledge on the board. It pushes the new players to come up to speed quite quickly. We have got our defensive systems set already and we are really focused on our rugby."

As is the case for every new campaign, pre-season is a necessary evil for any player and although it can be punishing, both mentally and physically, Atkins admits the vital preparation done now can make all the difference later in the season.

"Everyone is working hard and seems to be getting on well and it is a great environment and great culture to be a part of," added Atkins, who has previously represented Scotland at A team level.

"Everyone is very welcoming and there aren’t any cliques or anything in this group and everyone just seems to get on with everyone and is here for a common goal, which is obvious from the first few days of training."

Atkins is one of a number of new faces that have been brought to Devon by Baxter, who despite doing his own in-depth research on the player, was given a glowing endorsement by compatriot and former Exeter skipper Dean Mumm prior to him returning back to Sydney at the end of last season.

The pair engaged in detailed dialogue about the Chiefs prior to his move – and another former Exeter player, John Andress, was another to give a glowing reference of the Exeter set-up to Atkins.

"I played up in Edinburgh with a guy who played here a few years ago in John Andress and he said he enjoyed himself down here," continued Atkins.

"You don’t hear a bad word about it here. This club sells itself and I just wanted to be a part of it. The way the Chiefs have operated over the last few years has seen them go from strength to strength.

"Living down here is also a bit warmer than Scotland and there is a beach nearby, so I’ll be getting my board soon and going for a surf."

And Atkins will get the chance to test local waters this week when the Chiefs continue their pre-season training with a trip to Exmouth beach on Tuesday.
 

Latest News

RFU Disciplinary: Aaron Morris

Aaron Morris of Harlequins RFC will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel charged with tackling the jumper in the air,…

Vereniki Goneva, Brad Barritt and Sinoti Sinoti top the OPTA Rugby Rankings

Brad Barritt topped the OPTA tackling rankings in Round 16 after a rugged performance as Saracens ended their two-game losing…

Aviva Premiership Rugby Weekend Round-up

Gavin Henson showed how costly his injury absence might have been for Bristol Rugby this season as he starred in…

Newcastle Falcons sign Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows

Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows has become Newcastle Falcons’ latest signing as the club continues its recruitment for next season.…

Dean Richards

Saints sign Springbok scrum-half

Northampton Saints has today announced the signing of Cobus Reinach ahead of the 2017/18 season. The 27-year-old scrum-half joins the…

Cobus Reinach

Wasps sign Fijian international Gaby Lovobalavu

Wasps are delighted to announce that Fijian international centre Gabiriele (Gaby) Lovobalavu will join the club ahead of the 2017/18…

Gabiriele-Lovobalavu

Exeter Charity Celebrates hitting £1m milestone

A charity set up just six years ago to help promote the local community and the vision of people who…

Chiefs Foundation

Exeter backs agree new deals

Rob Baxter’s forward planning for next season and beyond is continuing with the news that three more of his Exeter…

Olly Woodburn

Match Reaction: Bristol Rugby 12 Bath Rugby 11

A delighted Gavin Henson admitted he felt relieved to turn in a match-winning performance for Bristol Rugby against West Country…

Match Reaction: Wasps 35 Gloucester Rugby 22

Dai Young believes Wasps’ Aviva Premiership Rugby win against Gloucester Rugby can spark a fresh wave of momentum after they…

Match Report: Wasps 35 Gloucester Rugby 22

Wasps utility back Jimmy Gopperth claimed 25 points including a hat-trick as his team restored a six-point advantage at the…

Match Report: Bristol Rugby 12 Bath Rugby 11

Gavin Henson kicked 12 points against former club Bath Rugby on his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start since October as…

Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 36 Newcastle Falcons 14

They may have gone above defending champions Saracens and into second place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, but Exeter…