Exeter Chiefs have come a long way since Haydn Thomas debuted in 2003 and the scrum-half admits it would be an honour to make his 200th appearance for the club on Saturday.
Thomas will start from the bench when Gloucester Rugby visit Sandy Park, with a sell-out crowd witnessing the hosts’ 100th game in the top flight.
And should Thomas make his way onto the pitch it will be a landmark of his own – one the 32-year-old, who returned to the Chiefs in 2009 after spells with Gloucester and Bristol, will treasure.
“Hopefully I will get on and it will be a great milestone and an achievement that I can look back on and be immensely proud of,” he said.
“It’s a great club and I have enjoyed every minute, from when I was at the County Ground to the present day.
“I remember the County Ground and the state of the pitch. I remember the changing rooms – they were just an absolute disgrace because half the pitch used to come into the changing room and the showers used to just about work.
“Even Sandy Park from when I arrived back in 2009, where that has come and the way the club has moved on professionally is incredible.
“When I first arrived at the County Ground the camaraderie was really strong. Rob and Richie (Baxter), the likes of Tony Yapp, Keith Brooking – you were made to feel very welcome.
“It was a really enjoyable place to be, as it is now. It hasn’t changed now – everybody enjoys themselves and works extremely hard, everybody is ambitious and I would say an Exeter Chief is a very good person.”
But, putting sentiment to one side, Saturday’s game is one that Exeter Chiefs are determined to win, following back-to-back Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats for the first time this season.
The second came at Bath Rugby last Saturday and Thomas is eager to see his side get their title challenge back on track.
He added: “We could have played a bit better on our attack last week and I think that let Bath off a bit. They played well and they pressured us very well in the last 20 minutes.
“We have played everybody now in the league and we’re in a good place. If we can back up the first half of the season as we have done then there is no reason why we can’t be in that top four come Premiership Final time in May.”
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