Picture looks promising on and off the field

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter (pic Simon Galloway/PA)

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter (pic Simon Galloway/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

In my last column I spoke about how things were looking brighter on many fronts.

Tony Rowe

Tony Rowe OBE - Credit: supplied

A few weeks down the line and the picture continues to look promising, both on and off the field, with a real air of positivity starting to creep back into all of our lives.
Of course, there is still some way to go in terms of getting back to normality, but what we are seeing now is certainly more encouraging, particularly with the new plan laid out by Boris Johnson earlier last week.
Equally, results and performances of both the men’s and women’s teams here at the Chiefs are also continuing to flourish. Rob Baxter’s side remain firmly entrenched in the top two of the Gallagher Premiership, whilst Susie Appleby’s women’s side continue to impress in this their first-ever season in the Allianz Premier 15s.
Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to watch the last two women’s games live – and what performances they have been!
Not only did our women’s side end Saracens’ 33-game unbeaten run, but they then followed it up with an equally impressive victory over table-topping Harlequins.
As we said when we launched the women’s side all those months ago, we knew it would take a little while for them to find their feet, but I was confident we had the coaches, the players and the building blocks to create something special.
It’s not just on the club scene where our players are continuing to shine. Again, we had six of our lads competing in the latest round of the Six Nations Championship and a trio of our women’s side are currently away with their national sides preparing for upcoming fixtures.
I’ve said many times that we get a huge sense of pride when we see our players competing on the biggest of stages. Equally, their absence from the club means that doors open for others within the squad to step up and make their own mark.
For example, I’ve been delighted to see how some of our next batch of young and homegrown talent are finding their feet in the Gallagher Premiership. People like Marcus Street, Richard Capstick and Tom Hendrickson, all products of our highly successful Academy set-up, have all impressed, as have some of our other newcomers like Jack Walsh, Josh Hodge and Facundo Cordero.
The success of any team – whether it be in sport or in business – is based on the collective group you put together. To succeed, they not only have to work hard, both individually and collectively, but they must be willing to learn and develop from whatever is put in front of them.
Our recent success, as Rob has so rightly indicated, is not down to just the odd individual here or there. It’s down to a group of players, coaches and staff, all of whom are willing to give everything and buy-in to a process which, if they do it right, will reap rich rewards down the line.
It’s a model I know Susie is looking to replicate with the women’s side – and judging by their results and performances so far, it seems to be working!
Moving forward, the Government’s roadmap has given us a chance of having supporters back in Sandy Park before the end of the season. I’ll be honest, match-days simply aren’t the same without supporters, so here’s hoping that it won’t be long before we can go back to welcoming people back in, just as we did for those two fixtures back in December.

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