TOP BAR - Fixtures

Baxter poised to bolster Chiefs squad

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has admitted he is hoping to bolster his playing squad over the coming weeks as they brace themselves for a relentless run of fixtures in the Aviva Premiership.

With the Devon club somewhat hamstrung with a series of long-term injuries to a number of their key players, Baxter’s cause is set to be further hampered with the potential loss of others to call-ups in the upcoming Six Nations Championship.

Baxter has said the situation is far from ideal and it appears he’s now set to act, confirming in this week’s media briefing that he is poised to sign a lock and an overseas back soon.

"We've been pretty active over the last two or three weeks and we're pretty satisfied to where we're going to be this year," said Baxter.

However, the need to bring in additional personnel is seen as paramount for Baxter, who in recent times has lost key locks Damian Welch and Mitch Lees, as well as Henry Slade to long-term injuries.

Fellow Chief Dave Ewers is also sidelined, whilst Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Nowell, Sam Hill, Moray Low, Tomas Francis and Michele Campagnaro have all been included in their national squads for the Six Nations.

Although Baxter refused to clarify the identity of either player, he did concede the lock would join from a Pro12 side.

"He's a player involved in the Pro12 at the moment. We think it's a really good fit for us and people will understand that when they see the player it is," added Baxter.

"Initially with the first injury to Damien we were thinking we could get through things and we had enough cover, but the second injury to Mitch really tipped the balance too far for us to try and battle our way through.

"We've still got another Champions Cup game this weekend and then we've got 10 Premiership games on the bounce."

As for the new arrival in the backs, Baxter is confident that deal will also be tied up shortly.

"We've still got to wrap up quite a few details on visas etc," continued Baxter. "Hopefully by mid-February we'll have someone over here and that will then complete the look of our backs.

"Bringing in some extra cover allows us to increase our flexibility. Having guys who can cover one or two or three positions will be very important for us in this next 10-week block."
 

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