Tom Johnson: Exeter forward finding it 'tough' after losing place in Premiership side

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson led Exeter to their first win in seven games in all competitions on Sunday

Exeter's former England forward Tom Johnson says it has been difficult for him to watch from the sidelines after losing his place in the team.

The 34-year-old, who is in his 10th season at Sandy Park, has not played in the Premiership since New Year's Day.

He has featured in the last two Anglo-Welsh Cup matches, captaining the side in Sunday's win over Cardiff Blues.

"It is tough, but it's part and parcel of the job," Johnson, who won eight caps for England, told BBC Sport.

He joined Exeter when they were in the old National One and is one of a handful of players who helped the Chiefs gain promotion to the top flight in 2010 that are still at the club.

Tom Johnson
Is Exeter's longest-serving player, having made his debut in September 2007
Was Exeter's first full England international since Martin Underwood in 1964
Made his England Test debut against South Africa in Durban in June 2012

But with Dave Dennis, Julian Salvi and Thomas Waldrom joining the club, as well the emergence of home-grown players such as Dave Ewers, Johnson's chances of playing in the Exeter back-row in the Premiership have diminished.

"It's where we've come from as a club," adds Johnson, who is celebrating his testimonial year at Exeter.

"We've kept moving forward as a club and we've brought some very good players in and that's obviously going to affect the pecking order.

"I still have a role as a rugby player, especially at this club, and we all get on pretty well, so it's important to just keep going and be one of those cogs and when you get an opportunity try and take it."

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