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Jack Maunder reflects on exciting “rollercoaster” season with Exeter Chiefs after award nomination

Jack Maunder reflects on exciting “rollercoaster” season with Exeter Chiefs after award nomination

From starting with National League 1 side Plymouth Albion, to finishing with hearing about his place in the England squad 20 minutes before its announcement, Jack Maunder’s season has taken upward curve to a whole new level.

The Exeter Chiefs scrum-half was a relatively unknown quantity before the campaign but, having made his Sandy Park debut as late as October, now finds himself as one of the stars of the future.

A Land Rover Discovery of the Season award nominee, Maunder has also found himself in England plans, named in Eddie Jones’ squad for this summer’s tour to Argentina.

That arguably completed what has been an impressive rise to fame for the 20-year-old – even if his new international boss described him as a “cheeky little bugger” in a video he first saw on Instagram.

“It’s been really weird, this season was not something I expected at the start and it’s been a roller-coaster ride right through until now,” he said.

“I was sat in the physio’s room getting some treatment and, while a little bit daydreamy, Rob Baxter came and shook my hand and told me I was off to Argentina – that’s how I found out.

“The phone just went absolutely crazy when it was announced, it was a really surreal 20 minutes while I wasn’t able to tell anyone, but it was pretty cool.

“I haven’t spoken to Eddie Jones yet, I’ve spoken to backs coach Rory Teague because he did some bits with me at Under-18 and Under-20 and is a familiar face to talk me through a few aspects he’ll do me with me on the tour.

“It was weird hearing what he (Jones) said about me and I had to double check it was me he was talking about. It’s nice to hear and with what he’s done with England it’s very exciting to be a part of that group.”

Maunder was nominated for the 2016/17 Land Rover Discovery of the Season award, thanks to his eye catching performances for Exeter Chiefs throughout the course of the Premiership Rugby season.

Land Rover is a long standing supporter of rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite and as the Official Vehicle Partner of Premiership Rugby is committed to using this award to acknowledge the best young rugby player from each season.

With Exeter in the Aviva Premiership top four for a second successive season, much has been made of the success coming on and off the field at Sandy Park.

And back Maunder has become a focal part of that influence, the latest cab off the rank in a South West talent pool that seems to be growing year on year.

“Starting off in Plymouth, the short-term goals were to try and start for them and play as many times as possible in a very tough National 1 division,” he added.

“We’ve seen how well Hartpury have done this year and there are some great players in that division.

“With a bit of luck I’ve been able to get a lot more exposure than maybe I thought I would get at this age, and it’s been a very enjoyable journey this year so far.

“Rob has always said he likes bringing up the young academy boys and how proud he was when Nowellsy (Jack Nowell) and Sladey (Henry Slade), Dickie (Luke Cowan-Dickie), Harry Williams and the rest of the boys get recognition and onto these England tours.

“He was very happy for us and he’s been very supportive so far.”

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