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Baxter’s joy as Dollman extends his stay

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has spoken of his delight after Phil Dollman today agreed a new two-year deal with the Aviva Premiership club.

Dollman, who was one of Baxter’s first signings when he took charge at Sandy Park in 2009, has been a leading light in helping the Chiefs to establish themselves as one of the top clubs in England in recent years.

His decision to prolong his stay in Devon is not only a welcome boost to Baxter ahead of what will be the Welshman’s 100th league appearance for the club this weekend against Wasps, but also long-term as the Chiefs leader looks to continue his side’s rise up the pecking order.

Commenting on the new deal, Baxter said: “The important thing when you’re putting a squad together, when you’ve got a developing group of players my preference is not to have too high a turnover of players.

“I think we’re reaping the benefits of that more this season than at any other time. There’s not been a lot of change in the side for a couple of years.

“Yes we’ve brought in some players but it’s not stacks and stacks of players, in some ways it’s funny that we were getting criticised in some quarters at the start of the season that we hadn’t brought in enough players but a lot of the time it’s about a team maturing together.

“Phil’s been a very important part of that and he shows a lot of the qualities we like in our players here – he’s a good guy, a good member of the squad, he’s popular, he works hard, is very reliable and trustworthy. Those qualities as well as his playing qualities are very important for us when we want to put a squad of players together long-term.”

Dollman’s influence and versatility since arriving from the Newport-Gwent Dragons have been key facets of his game and Baxter was quick to highlight the role he has played for the Chiefs.

He added: “He came in for our final season in the Championship and had a big part to play in the success we had that season.

“He’s someone who has really thrived in the Premiership. I think he’s just about played in every position in the backs and that shows his strength. Some people think versatility can count against you but I think with Phil, because he’s such a good all-round rugby player, we’re very comfortable to pick him in multiple positions.

“It’s no surprise he’s racked up the games thick and fast because he is a quality player.”

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