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Premiership Rugby

Chiefs duo agree new deals

Chiefs duo agree new deals

Rob Baxter’s long-term planning for Exeter Chiefs has received another major boost after Mark Foster and Sireli Naqelevuki both penned new contracts with the Aviva Premiership Rugby club.

The talented backs, who have both agreed two-year extensions, have followed the lead of 16 of their current team-mates in committing their futures to Baxter and the Sandy Park outfit.

Former Gloucester winger Foster, 27, is in his second season with the Chiefs, while 30-year-old Naqelevuki – who is equally at home on either the wing or at centre – has proved a real hit since joining the Chiefs last October from Super 15 franchise the Stormers.

It is yet more welcome news for Baxter, who says the chance to develop the careers of both players was one of the key reasons in why he moved swiftly to keep them within the Exeter ranks.

“In the last few weeks Sireli has really started to hit his straps,” said Baxter. “You can see he’s starting to learn exactly what we’re about and he feels comfortable within the team.

“You can see the quality of the guy and the fact he’s committed now for the next couple of years is fantastic news for us.

“He’s been another key player for us this season and Fozzie (Foster) has been a key player for a couple of years now.

“He adds a lot more than just a traditional winger, he doesn’t just stand in the five-metre channel and finish things off – he had games earlier this season when he had 20 touches of the ball and that gives him a big influence on the game.

“Both of them are very good characters as well. The key to tying them both down for the next couple of years is that I feel very comfortable working with them.”

Like so many of their team-mates who have also agreed new terms in the past month, both men admit getting their futures sorted at such an early stage means they can now focus their attentions fully on the final months of the club's inaugural campaign in English rugby's top flight.

Although sidelined with a broken leg sustained in the recent LV= Cup clash with Leicester Tigers, Foster says life with the Chiefs could not be any better for him.

“It’s probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my rugby career,” said Foster, who has scored 17 tries in 47 appearances.

“I am at a place where I feel really valued, there’s a fantastic set of players and a really good management staff coupled with a great set of supporters and it’s a lovely part of the world to live in. It wasn’t a decision that took much thinking about for me, I love this club and it’s a real pleasure to play for the Chiefs and play at Sandy Park.”

Like Foster, Fijian international Naqelevuki was more than happy to commit to the Chiefs.

“I’m happy to have signed for the club again,” said Naqelevuki. “It’s a hard working club, there are no big names, everyone is friendly and there’s a good vibe in the team.

“When I played my first game against Northampton it was a bit different but then I got used to it pretty quickly. It’s good to play against top clubs and I’m enjoying the challenge every week.”


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