Exeter Chiefs cultural 'tone-setter' signs new contract to add some experience to young group

Rob Baxter has branded scrum-half Stu Townsend as a cultural 'tone-setter' at Exeter Chiefs as the 28-year-old has signed a new contract at the Premiership side.

A health issue has kept Townsend away from the pitch for much of the last couple of years but he is now back fit and firing, looking to add to his 19 tries in 106 appearances for the Devon club. But it is the consistency Townsend offers off the pitch that is valued just as highly by Chiefs director of rugby Baxter as his skills on it, especially considering the huge turnover in personnel in the last 18 months.

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Baxter said: “Stu is one of what you’d call our ‘senior guys’. A guy whose been here in the time when we’ve won Premierships and we’ve trophies. He’s not only been a really good guy on the pitch and a tone-setter for us but also off the pitch, around the club, he’s one of the guys who really understands what we’re about.

“He’s a really important player to have staying at Sandy Park, to keep the ethos of what the club is about and the culture that we have within the club. I’m sure that he’ll be an important person to have around the group of young nines who also look like they’re thriving.”

Townsend, who came through the youth section at Kingsbridge before moving into the Chiefs academy, added: “To have re-signed with Exeter Chiefs is really exciting. The club has been my home for my entire career, so it’s incredibly special to have the opportunity to make even more memories in the Chiefs shirt.

“I’m really excited to head into another season with this squad of players as it feels like a strong group that has some exciting times ahead.”