Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has spoken of his delight after three of his current squad today put pen to paper on new deals with the Aviva Premiership club.
Props Ben Moon and Carl Rimmer, together with hooker Shaun Malton, have all agreed terms to extend their stays at Sandy Park.
Long-serving loose-head Moon has signed a new three-year deal, while Rimmer has agreed to extend his stay in Devon for a further two years. Meanwhile, Malton will be prolonging his Chiefs career for another year at least.
Commenting on the deals, Baxter said: “Ben has been a remarkably good and consistent performer for us for a number of years. He’s come up through our academy system, spent all of his career with Exeter and been one of those guys who have been a core part of our time in the Premiership and in Europe.
“He comes in every day, puts his head down, works very hard and is a very popular member of the squad. He’s one of those real success stories you want to see as a coach at a rugby club and we’re delighted he is going to stay for another three years.
“We know from working with him every day what he offers to us. He’s a very good Premiership player, probably under-rated by a lot of people, but who we know is very consistent and very durable. Although he’s been a very long time, we still think his best years are ahead of him and that what we hope to see over this next contract.”
As for Malton, now into his second season with the Chiefs following a move from Nottingham, he is starting to show the qualities that brought him to the attentions of Baxter and made him such a force within the Championship.
Baxter added: “With Shaun, he’s really come of age this season and we’re really starting to see what an asset he is to the club. We often see that it can take a bit of time for guys to start to come through, but we’re definitely seeing that now with him.
“He’s slowly had more game time, slowly had more exposure and again he’s kept his head down, worked hard and been patient. What we’ve seen is him really start to thrive within the environment, especially recently, and I believe he can have a big part to play with us moving forward.
“I thought last weekend – literally with two minutes notice – he was fantastic stepping in for his first Premiership start at Worcester. He had a great game, he was one of our top performers across the board, so we’re delighted he is going to stay and keep progressing in the way he has done.
“I know it’s been frustrating at times for him, simply because he’s not had the opportunities we perhaps envisaged for him, but as this season has progressed he’s gone from arguably being fourth choice to being our frontline hooker in recent weeks. That in itself shows opportunities are there – and then it’s up to the player themselves to take them.”
Joining Moon and Malton in committing his future to the Chiefs is versatile prop Rimmer, who joined the club in 2012 from the Cornish Pirates.
And with over 100 first team appearances to his name, Rimmer is very much part and parcel of the Chiefs squad, much to the delight of his head coach.
“Again, Carl is someone who is seeing plenty of game time, playing well and who we believe is improving all the time. There are things that Carl can do that other props can’t do, but with that he’s also adding real consistency to his game.
“With all three guys I think they will only get better and that they will also be part of a very bright future for the club. We’re not keeping them here to standstill, we are keeping them here because we see improvement happening.
“These three front-row guys are a perfect example of that. We think they are good; we know they can perform well at the top level, but the truth is we’re expecting more from them.”
The new deals for the three players signal what will be the start of a number of new deals for current Exeter players which will be announced in the coming days and weeks.