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Woodburn wings in at the Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs have strengthened their back-three options ahead of the 2015/16 season with the capture of Olly Woodburn from Aviva Premiership rivals Bath Rugby.

The 23-year-old back is one of two new arrivals confirmed by head coach Rob Baxter today, joining England and British Lions lock Geoff Parling in agreeing terms on a two-year deal with the Sandy Park outfit.

Woodburn joined the Bath Academy in 2010 having been schooled at Colston's School in Bristol and a year later made his first team debut, scoring a try inside two minutes against the Newport-Gwent Dragons.

Since that time Woodburn – who also enjoyed a brief loan stint in the Championship with Nottingham last season – has amassed close to 40 appearances for Bath, scoring 11 tries in the process.

Welcoming Woodburn to the Chiefs, Baxter said: "We know Tom James is leaving and we've got other players who are out of contract in the back three, so we knew we had to recruit some players in that position and had a look around.

"Olly being a good age, having got some decent Premiership experience and looking like a player who's improving all the time and still got a way to go in the way he develops as a rugby player, we believe he's got a lot of attributes that make him selectable in a Premiership team.

"Sometimes that is something you can forget, who get carried away and look at one positive aspect a player brings – they might have a devastating sidestep or electric pace – but what you have to have more and more now in the Premiership as a back-three player is an all-round package.”

Like with all new recruits, Woodburn has been closely scrutinised by the Chiefs coaching team and they clearly like what they see from the Keynsham-born back.

Baxter added: "It's very rare now you can just stand on the wing and score tries, space is quite limited and often you have to be the person that creates space for other people, one of the hardest workers in a kick-chase to put pressure on the opposition, you have to be very good aerially when you're put under pressure by the opposition's kicking game, either by high kicks, cross-field kicks or kicking in behind you, you have to be able to kick yourself if you're the person receiving kicks in the back field.

"That's where Olly ticks a lot of boxes for us. We see his all-round game is something that is very good for a Premiership back-three player. That's something we can see developing over a period of time.”

"Although winger is his primary spot, he played outside centre for Bath against us in the A League a few weeks ago, so he's not just someone who stands on his wing and doesn't come to see the ball at all.

"We'll be encouraging him to come and find the ball, he's a big, strong, physical guy, he's tested very well in his physical tests and we'll look to develop his game and get him as many involvements when he plays as possible.

"That's the same as we do with Jack Nowell and Jessy and Tom James and Fets, we try to get them involved in the game in as many ways as possible.

"A lot of his attributes – solid defensively, chases kicks well, has got a good attitude about putting a lot into the game – come together to make the package very interesting for us.”

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