Scrum-half Dave Lewis has today become the latest Exeter Chiefs star to commit his long-term future to the club.
With his contract set to expire at the end of the current season, head coach Rob Baxter has wasted little time in making sure he has the services of the talented 25-year-old for the next two years.
Since arriving from rivals Gloucester at the start of last season, Lewis has been an integral part of the Chiefs make-up and helped the Devon outfit secure their first-ever piece of silverware when they won the LV= Cup.
Although an elbow injury sustained in pre-season has hampered his opportunities this term, Lewis admits the decision to prolong his stay at Sandy Park was an easy one.
“When I was talking to Rob, it was one of the easiest decisions I've had to make, simply because the rugby side of things was going so well,” said Lewis. “With the stadium redevelopment going on as well, it's a pretty awesome place to play.
“For me, it's nice to get things sorted early and it means I can just concentrate on my rugby and have things sorted for the next couple of years. As I’ve said before, I’ve really enjoyed my time here, we've done really well, we've come on leaps and bounds in the time I've been here, yet we're still pushing to get even better.”
A solid first half to the season has seen the Chiefs position themselves nicely amongst the Premiership’s leading lights, whilst notable displays in both Europe and the LV= Cup have put Exeter top of their pools currently.
Lewis believes the squad Baxter has again put together, as well as the experience gained by a large nucleus of the squad last season has helped the Chiefs to develop and move their game on this term.
He added: “From a team point of view we have the well documented young kids that have come through, they've had that season under their belt and they've started this season very well.
“Obviously for myself it was the first time I've started that many matches probably since I was probably 18 or 19, so it was a learning experience for me and something I really enjoyed.”
That experience, coupled with the close-knit nature of the Exeter squad, means Lewis and his team-mates are relishing a bright future together.
“One thing that I think everyone in the Premiership knows is this squad of players here get on very well,” he continued. “Yes, we do have a good time off the pitch, but it all comes about from working hard on it.
“We have done that in pre-season and during the first half of this season. We have obviously celebrated the big wins, but now we're at the stage where we have to knuckle down a bit, which we are doing. Hopefully the wins will start coming again because the boys are still upbeat, we are still in a good place, and we just need to go and bang in a couple of good wins.”
As well as helping the Chiefs to lift the LV= Cup last season, Lewis was one of four Exeter players who were called up to represent the England Saxons.
To all extent and purposes, Lewis admits it was one of the highlights of his career to date and having experienced the call-up once, he’s hoping for more of the same in the coming year.
“First things first, you have to get back playing for your club,” he admitted. “I’m not too dis-similar to any other player, I want to be playing in the big games, and obviously the chance to play in the LV= Cup final last year, especially at home, was awesome.
“That experience, coupled with my time with the Saxons, the boys will tell you once you experience it once, you want to experience it more and more. Right now, I just want to get back playing and hopefully push the Chiefs towards the semi-finals of whatever competition we are in. Anything else that follows after that will be a bonus.”