Exeter Chiefs sign England international
PUBLISHED: 12:44 12 January 2017
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has spoken of his delight after landing England international Matt Kvesic as his first new signing for next season.
A long-time admirer of the all-action forward, Baxter has signed the 24-year-old from Aviva Premiership rivals Gloucester Rugby on a three-year deal.
In welcoming Kvesic to Sandy Park, Baxter – who had tried to sign the former Worcester Warriors player before his move to Gloucester – said: “We were probably a little disappointed not to sign him when he moved from Worcester initially. We would have liked to have signed him then, but for various reasons – people will be aware of our standing and Matt’s situation as well – that was the choice he made at the time.
“I’m not the kind of person, though, who if the player doesn’t come to you the first time you give up on them and that’s their only opportunity. We’ve been following Matt for quite a while and I’ve liked a lot of the qualities I’ve seen of him.
Some of the qualities we saw at Worcester will be some of the ones we want to re-ignite in him that we maybe haven’t seen quite so much of at Gloucester. I think at Gloucester he’s become very defensively organised and defensively-biased and we’d like to see him become a bit more of an attacking player and an attacking option with us, and add a bit more balance to his game.”
Having worked with Kvesic in 2013 when he was part of England’s touring squad to Argentina, Baxter is already well versed in the qualities of the former Blundell’s schoolboy. However, add into the mix that fellow coaches Ali Hepher and Rob Hunter have also worked with the player previously in various guises at international level, the connection is already there for all parties to prosper.
“We see him as a very good player,” added Baxter. “I worked with him on the tour to Argentina, where he was outstanding in the way he prepared himself, the way he carried himself, and the way he played.
“He’s the right age and he has the right qualities we want to bring to the club, plus we want him to be part of our drive to become one of the best teams in the country.
“Young English talent doesn’t come on the market all that often, so when it does become available we’re very determined to collect some of that here.
“He’s got a lot of the qualities we like – he’s very hard working, very high-work rate on the field and off the field he’s a good guy and we feel he’s also got a good deal of development in him. We’re excited about seeing him add parts to his game and hopefully he is as well. Hopefully we’ll see him flourish here at Exeter.”
With Kvesic safely on board for next term, Baxter will no doubt be looking to further bolster his squad with other new faces in the coming weeks.
“We’re at a stage where we’ve not got masses of recruitment to do,” said Baxter. “We’ve got one or two guys in the pipeline that will come over the next two or three weeks as we finalise things.
“We’re still working a little bit on retaining some of our own players and making some final decisions on the make-up of the squad.
“This is the first piece of the jigsaw. I don’t think we’ll be making any huge announcements in the next week or two, but you’ll slowly start to see the squad gather over the next month.”