Rob Baxter: Exeter Chiefs head coach signs new contract to 2018

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Rob Baxter (right) and assistant Ali Hepher
Ali Hepher (left) has assisted Rob Baxter since he first took the helm at Exeter in 2009

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter and his assistants have all signed deals to stay at Sandy Park until summer 2018.

He has also guided the Chiefs through two Heineken Cup campaigns and to their first major trophy, the 2014 LV= Cup.

Baxter has spent his entire rugby career with Exeter, playing for them for 14 years, 10 of them as captain.

"Everyone's aware of my history and my emotional involvement with the club," he told BBC Sport.

"I'm delighted to be here and involved with a club that's been part of my life for a long time.

"I see it as a club that wants to move forward and be successful and it's a great story to be part of and one that I can see hopefully running for a long time and getting better and better."

Exeter under Rob Baxter
2009-10Second in the Championship, beating league winners Bristol in a two-legged play-off final
2010-11Eighth in first Premiership season, winning at Saracens and Sale
2011-12Fifth in the Premiership and make the quarter-finals of the Amlin Cup, narrowly losing away at Stade Francais
2012-13Sixth in the Premiership and make Heineken Cup debut, beating Scarlets twice and narrowly losing 9-6 at Leinster
2013-14Eighth in the Premiership and win the LV= Cup, beating league champions Northampton in the final at Sandy Park
2014-15Currently second in the Premiership and top of European Challenge Cup and LV= Cup pools

Alongside Baxter, backs coach Ali Hepher, forwards coach Rob Hunter, skills coach Ricky Pellow and head of strength and conditioning Mark Twiggs have also agreed new deals.

"I've got a very good coaching team and I'm delighted they're staying," said Baxter.

"If anything that's probably the best part of the news, I'm really pleased to have signed a new contract, but I'm even more pleased that the coaches who are around me are all staying as well."

Baxter says his next aim is to establish his club as a top-six side in the Premiership, something he has managed twice during his five full seasons in the top flight.

"We would like to be is a solid, regular, top six club," he said.

"That's still a challenge for us because you can start to reel off five or six big clubs pretty quickly.

"Being in that top six is pretty tough but, at the same time, I think that's a marker that we're ambitious and it's a marker that we want to attract quality players here.

"It's a marker that we want to keep our best players and it should show something that we're a good club to come and watch because you'll see some good rugby.

"We want to be playing against the likes of Toulon, Clermont and Leinster on a regular basis and you only get the opportunity to do that if you stay in that top six."

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