Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has today spoken of his delight at the news that four of his current first-team squad have all agreed deals to extend their stay with the Aviva Premiership club.
Hooker Elvis Taione, together with backs Ian Whitten and James Short, have all penned new two-year deals, while lock Damian Welch has agreed a new one-year contract extension.
The news comes hot on the heels of Baxter recently confirming the arrivals of Australian prop Greg Holmes from the Queensland Reds and the gifted Ollie Devoto from league rivals Bath for next season.
Commenting on the news, Baxter said: "Obviously we’re really pleased to announce that the four guys have signed new deals. Each of them are very important members of the squad and we’re delighted that they want to be part of things moving forward.
"In recent weeks Whitts, Shorty and Elvis have shown some fantastic form, while Damo was probably enjoying his best-ever season with us until he got injured.
"Whitts has been ‘Mr Reliable’ for some time now in terms of his performances and we know what he brings to the side every time he plays. We knew Shorty would offer us a genuine attacking threat and we’re delighted to see that he is fulfilling the potential we saw in him.
"Likewise Elvis has done a fantastic job for us in recent weeks, stepping up especially when we picked up the injury to Luke Cowan-Dickie. We always knew what he could bring to the team and over the last month of so he’s been involved in some very big moments for us.
"As for Damo, he was having probably his best season with us until he got injured over in Clermont. That was obviously disappointing for him and for us, but the good thing is he’s well into his rehab programme now and it’s almost like he’s having another pre-season programme and that will enable him to come back even stronger.
"We’re confident we’ll see him before the end of the season and that he – along with the other guys – can have a big part to play in how we do between now and the end of the season."
As well as ensuring the quartet remain on board, Baxter has hinted that he is close to securing deals for at least two new players, whilst a number of the club’s highly-rated Academy youngsters have also committed their futures to the Devon club.