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Four coaches agree new deals at Exeter Chiefs

Rob Baxter insists there is a “burning desire” amongst the Exeter Chiefs coaching staff to take the Devon club onto even greater things in the future, after he and his three lieutenants – Ali Hepher, Rob Hunter and Ricky Pellow – all agreed new three-year deals with the Aviva Premiership Rugby champions.

Baxter will take on the new title of Director of Rugby for the 2017/18 season, while Hepher has been named the club’s new Head Coach.

Both Hunter (Forwards Coach) and Pellow (Skills Coach) will continue in their current roles.

The new deals for the quartet come just weeks after they helped oversee Exeter’s Twickenham triumph, where the Chiefs saw off rivals Wasps in extra time to lift English rugby’s top prize for the first time in the club’s history.

Former player and club captain Baxter took charge of the Chiefs ahead of the 2009/10 season – and immediately steered the club to success in the inaugural RFU Championship Play-Off Final.

Since that night at Bristol’s Memorial Stadium, the trio have been heavily involved in helping the Chiefs to forge themselves within the English game.

Hunter joined the club in 2013 following a highly successful stint as England Under-20s head coach, working with the likes of Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Sam Hill and Luke Cowan-Dickie.

“One of the strengths of this coaching team is that we all offer something different to the mix,” said Baxter.

“We all want to be successful and we all want to see the players do as well as they can.

“Where we are different is that we see other things differently at times and can challenge one another if necessary.

“Yes, we have got people who are experts in certain areas, but at the same time we are more than happy to have some pretty lively discussions about things.

“Anyone who sits near us in the grandstand will often hear them going on during a match-day.

“What I like, though, is that we can have disagreements or heated debates, but when it comes down to it, we all get over it pretty quickly and then get on with it.

“As a group, we all want the same things to happen, so we don’t have a lot of time for guys not seeing the bigger picture or trying to do to things their own way.

“Instead, we have a burning desire amongst us all to work hard and do the very best we can for one another and for the team.”

With the new deals in place, Baxter says it allows not only himself, but also his fellow coaches to concentrate their attentions on the future and the upcoming season where the Chiefs will be looking to defend their Aviva Premiership Rugby crown.

“In a lot of ways we all fill roles that probably don’t have specific boundaries,” added Baxter.

“That will continue moving forward, but at the same time there will be new bits and pieces for all of us to oversee.

“Obviously I’ve had large responsibilities for things like squad recruitment and running budgets, so a large part of what I do day to day won’t change that much.”

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