By Mark Stevens
Rob Baxter has wasted little time in bolstering his Exeter Chiefs squad following Ruben van Heerden’s departure again to South Africa final week.
As we speak, the Chiefs Director of Rugby has welcomed skilled ahead Mike Williams to the Devon membership from Gallagher Premiership rivals, Tub Rugby.
The 31-year-old has agreed a deal till the top of the present marketing campaign, however Baxter has mentioned the choice might be there to increase that keep additional ought to the Zimbabwean-born star impress between from time to time.
With over 100 Premiership appearances to his title, the 6ft 5in, 18 stone ahead is effectively versed within the English recreation, having beforehand loved spells with Worcester Warriors, Leicester Tigers and, extra lately, Tub.
“I’m wanting ahead to getting caught in,” mentioned Williams. “I’ve clearly come up towards the Chiefs lots previously, so I do know a number of of the blokes effectively and what the staff are able to. They’re a high facet, packed filled with high-profile people and a staff who prefer to win.
“For me, it’s an honour to be right here. With Ruben transferring on, the chance got here up for me to go down right here and I’m wanting ahead to benefiting from it. Already the blokes have welcomed me with open arms. You’ll be able to see the boys are a good group, not simply off the sector, but in addition on the sector as effectively.”
Williams is aware of he’s becoming a member of the Chiefs at an thrilling stage of the season, significantly with the membership pushing for the highest 4 within the Premiership, a final 16 spot within the Heineken Champions Cup, in addition to a semi-final place within the Premiership Rugby Cup.
“It’s an incredible time to hitch,” he added. “Taking part in towards the Chiefs you at all times know what they’re able to and that you simply’re in a recreation towards them. Sandy Park is among the hardest locations to return and play as an opposing staff, so it’s fairly cool that I’m right here now and on the opposite facet of issues.”
Baxter himself is delighted to welcome Williams – who began his profession in South Africa with the Sharks after which a brief stint on the Bulls – into his choice combine transferring ahead.
“Having agreed to launch Ruben final week, it did go away us slightly mild within the second row,” defined Baxter. “On the similar time, Mike grew to become obtainable for numerous causes at Tub, it’s slightly complicated and I received’t go into that now, however the alternative for him to play at Tub had been going to be restricted. They had been ready due to that occasion to launch him; he’s totally match, he’s in full coaching and able to go, so for us we’re delighted to herald a man who, most individuals in the event that they watch the Premiership recurrently, will know is a confirmed performer.
“He’s additionally obtained that stage of expertise to return in and slot in immediately, so it’s an incredible match for us in some ways. A variety of the blokes know him already and I believe he will probably be an incredible addition to our squad.”
Equally at house at lock or within the back-row, Baxter feels his new addition is the ‘good match’. He added: “Coming right here he’s obtained one thing to show, contracts to earn, that is what you need on the membership. I believe he’ll are available and do a extremely good job for us. Clearly, we have now obtained to get a bit of coaching into him and get him on top of things with how we play, however I wouldn’t be in any respect shocked seeing him concerned within the subsequent few weeks.
“He’s right here initially on a short-term deal, however the alternative is there for Mike to try to earn himself an extended contract. We wish guys to return right here with some extent to show, a chip on the shoulder, nevertheless you wish to speak about it, and get out on the pitch and see what they will do. He can run round, he can scrum and maul, when you run into him he’ll knock you over, however the essential factor is to get him embedded as shortly as we are able to and see the place it takes us.”