Ali Hepher: Exeter boss expects interest for highly-rated backs coach

Ali Hepher
Ali Hepher led England Saxons to two wins over South Africa 'A' last month

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter says he would not be surprised if backs coach Ali Hepher was linked with vacant head coach roles.

The former Northampton fly-half's work has been key to Exeter's rise in recent years, which culminated in a first Premiership final appearance in May.

He also led England Saxons to a series win in South Africa this summer.

"If I was a coach or a CEO at another rugby club I'd certainly have a look at him," Baxter told BBC Sport.

"But what you do need to remember is Ali's just played a very big part, and has done over a number of years, in a team that have just lost a Premiership final and just got knocked out of a European quarter-final, so we're a pretty good side in ourselves.

"If you want to leave Exeter there are not many clubs better than us to go to, and I think that plays a big part in what our players want to do and what our staff want to do."

Rob Baxter and Ali Hepher
Ali Hepher and Rob Baxter have led Exeter to the most successful period in the club's history

Hepher is contracted to to Exeter until the summer of 2018, having signed a deal at the same time as Baxter.

He was brought into the coaching set-up when Baxter took over as head coach in 2009 and has helped mastermind the club's rise from the Championship to second in the Premiership, as well as nurturing talents such as Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Phil Dollman.

"If you want to be a successful sporting business you want your club packed with people that everyone else wants," added Baxter.

"It's not a doubled-edged sword, if nobody else wanted our players or our staff we wouldn't be a very good rugby club and we wouldn't be a very good team, so that's just how it has to be."

Top Stories