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Salvi signs for the Chiefs

New signing Julian Salvi hopes he can play a key role in helping the Exeter Chiefs continue their rise within English and European rugby.

The all-action flanker is Rob Baxter’s latest addition to the Devon club’s playing ranks, joining from Aviva Premiership rivals Leicester Tigers on a two-year deal.

The 29-year-old Australian has spent the past four years at Welford Road and has established himself as one of Premiership rugby’s most effective loose forwards. With 112 appearances to his name and 11 tries in the bag, it’s fair to say he’s played a pivotal role for the Midlanders.

His arrival in the Westcountry, however, will be much heralded as the Chiefs already prepare their plans for the 2015/16 season.

"I'm really looking forward to the move as I see it as a new adventure and a nice move for me and my family," said Salvi. "Exeter is a club on the rise and you can see from their results and performances this season, they are a formidable outfit within the Premiership and Europe.

"What they have achieved since coming out of the Championship has been outstanding and each year they continue to improve."

With current Tigers team-mate Geoff Parling also set to make a similar move this summer, plus close friends Thomas Waldrom and Ben White already in place at Sandy Park, Salvi already has a few familiar faces in tow to get him acquainted to Devon life.

He continued: "I spoke to one or two of the boys down there, guys like Thomas Waldrom and Ben White who I’ve known for years, and also Pat Phibbs and Peter Kimlin also spoke highly of the place as well.  

"Also having come down and spoken with Rob Baxter, taken a look around the place, you can see everything is in place for an exciting future. I know the strength of the squad they have, especially in the back-row, but I enjoy a challenge and can't wait to get stuck into things."

Indeed, having come up against Devon’s finest on numerous occasions in recent times, Salvi needs little introduction to Exeter’s qualities.

"Over the years I’ve got to play the Chiefs a few times now and they’ve always been tough games, especially down at Sandy Park," he added. "I like the way they approach the game, they play a great, attacking brand of rugby, but they’ve also got a pretty solid defence as well.

"You only have to look at the number of points and the number of tries that they’ve scored to see there is a real creative flair within the side."

Keen to enjoy a change of lifestyle and a new environment in which to play, Salvi says he likes what he sees on offer from his new club.

"As a player looking in from the outside, you can see the Chiefs have a great culture. As I said, you only have to look at what the club have achieved over the last five years, that doesn’t come without having a great work ethic and a really good culture. I’m excited to be part of all that and help the club to improve even more."

That said, Canberra-born Salvi – who has also played Super Rugby for the Brumbies and also in the Premiership for Bath – has paid tribute to those he leaves behind in Leicester.

"I’ve had four great years at the Tigers and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it," he said. "However, the time has come for me and my family to try something different and Exeter have given me that opportunity. Now it’s up to me to re-assert myself in a new group and do my best to try and break into the team."

Certainly he will be looking to take a leaf out of Waldrom’s book. Last summer the England international made an identical switch to Sandy Park and the No.8 has thrived in his new settings, featuring in every Premiership game and topping the scoring charts with 17 tries to date.

"You can see he has been given a new lease of life," added Salvi. "He’s been like the Tank of old and I know he’s really enjoying his rugby down in Exeter. Hopefully, I can have a similar impact when I come down, but I know it won’t be easy breaking into the side, especially with so many good forwards around the place.

"It will be up to me, day one of pre-season, to show what I can do and then we’ll see where it takes us."
 

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