Fixtures - Top Bar

Baxter likes what he sees in new prop

As he has proved for a number of years now, Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter isn’t afraid to put his trust in players from the Championship making the step up to life in the Aviva Premiership.

Today, the Chiefs leader has added his latest new face to the club’s playing ranks for next season with the signing of prop Harry Williams from Jersey.

The talented tight-head, who has agreed a two-year deal with the Sandy Park outfit, is Baxter’s seventh new addition for next term and his second is as many weeks from English rugby’s second tier.

Williams follows Nottingham hooker Shaun Malton in offering the Chiefs fresh options to their front-row for the 2015/16 season.

Welcoming the 23-year-old forward to the club, Baxter said: "We obviously spend a lot time looking at the Championship – we have had a good deal of success with players from there. That is both in terms of players we came up with when we got promoted and players we have brought in from the Championship.

"We know it is a strong breeding ground for players and we are always pretty keen to look at front-five forwards in particular as it is a very good stepping stone for them into the Premiership. We keep an eye on the Championship from the second or third week of the season onwards really.

"Harry was starting to stand out as a very good set-piece forward and we spent a bit of time breaking down his play all over the pitch. To be honest, I was pretty impressed with what I saw.

"The fundamentals of what you need to be a Premiership tight-head prop are there. He is developing and it will be our job over the next couple of years to help him improve as much as he can. Hopefully we can bring him through and help him become a strong Premiership tight-head."

In recent seasons Baxter has unearthed some real gems from the Championship, particularly up front, where the likes of Jack Yeandle, Tomas Francis, Elvis Taione and Mitch Lees have all thrived within the Chiefs first team ranks.

Baxter added: "Front-five forwards are very valuable and very important to any game of rugby, particularly in the Premiership.

"If you look at where our current crop of props are going to be used this season, then there is the possibility of Tom Francis and Moray Low being away playing international rugby, so having the correct strength in depth is very important for us with the World Cup coming up. So many of the Six Nations games clash with the Premiership too.

"All round, Harry is a very good fit for us and we liked what we saw when he visited us. His medical went well, his testing went well, he is a very powerful man, he is a big guy and I think there is plenty of development in him.

"His season in Championship rugby is going very well and we want to help him accelerate through.
It is like Jack Yeandle when we brought him in from Doncaster or Tom Francis when we brought him in – neither had masses and masses of Championship experience.

"Harry has had limited Championship rugby, but he’s done very well. We think we have seen enough. For me, it is a simple equation – if you watch plenty of games and like what you see then the important thing is to believe your own eyes."

A former pupil of Whitgift School, Williams – who was tops the scales at 20st 4lbs and stands 6’2” – was formerly on the books of Wasps as a youngster, before he moved to Loughborough University and later onto Nottingham, where he was on loan before making the move to Jersey.
 

Latest News

England Rugby squad update

Bath Rugby's Anthony Watson is a step closer to making his England return after being one of 24 players retained…

Anthony Watson

Piutau hoping West Country derby brings the best out of Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby centre Siale Piutau admits there is no better way for his side to bounce back from a bruising…

Mark Jennings: In-form Sale Sharks can topple Saracens

Sale Sharks’ Mark Jennings believes his in-form side are now reaping the fruits of their tough European campaign – and…

Zach Mercer to lead England U20 against Italy

England Under 20 have made eight changes to the starting line-up for their Six Nations match against Italy at the…

Will Witty targets top six as Newcastle Falcons push continues

Newcastle Falcons are enjoying their best season in over a decade and lock Will Witty believes a top-six finish is…

Round 16 Preview: Bristol Rugby v Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby’s only two victories in Aviva Premriship Rugby this season came in successive matches, against Worcester and Sale over…

Bristol v Bath

Ticket sales for Derby Day at Wembley hit 50,000

Ticket sales for this year’s Derby Day spectacle between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley Stadium have now hit 50,000! The…

Wembley

Round 16 Preview: Wasps v Gloucester Rugby

Wasps are without a win in their last four first team fixtures since beating Zebre in Parma in the Champions…

Wasps v Gloucester

Referee appointments: Dean Richards takes charge of 91st Aviva Premiership Rugby clash

Referee Dean Richards will move ever closer to a century of Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this weekend, as he takes…

Round 16 Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Exeter Chiefs only defeat in their last ten first team matches was at Clermont-Auvergne in the European Champions Cup on…

Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Round 16 Preview: Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Northampton Saints have slipped to successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats at Bath and at Newcastle but have not lost three…

Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Jack Wilson extends stay with Bath Rugby

Jack Wilson has extended his stay with Bath Rugby until at least 2019, the Club are delighted to confirm. The…

Jack Wilson

Guy Mercer relishing Bath Rugby’s rigorous preparation this term

Bath Rugby club captain Guy Mercer believes meticulous planning has laid the foundations for a successful end to the season.…

Newcastle Falcons sign Canadian try machine DTH van der Merwe

Newcastle Falcons have added another proven top-level try-scorer to their squad with the news that Canada and Scarlets wing DTH…

DTH van der Merwe

Round 16 Preview: Saracens v Sale Sharks

Saracens are without a win in their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures and have not gone four in a…

Saracens v Sale Sharks

Round 16 Preview: Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Harlequins are one of only two sides with a 100 per cent home winning record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this…

Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Phil Swainston joins Harlequins from Wasps

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 22nd February), the signing of Wasps tighthead prop Phil Swainston, who will join…

Phil Swainston

BT Sport and ITV coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby

A breathless round of Aviva Premiership Rugby action last week saw records smashed, underdogs triumph, and tries galore with a…

Live TV matches on BT Sport for Round 21

Premiership Rugby can confirm that Harlequins’ crucial clash with Wasps in the penultimate round of Aviva Premiership Rugby has been chosen…

Wasps v Harlequins