Henry Slade explains why he has signed new deal with Exeter Chiefs

Henry Slade says he believes Exeter Chiefs' squad of new emerging stars can to 'do great' things together which has helped him decide to sign a new contract with the Devon club.

Since his debut against London Welsh in November 2012, Slade has become synonymous with the Chiefs shirt. With 230 appearances and 858 points already to his name, the centre still believes there is more to come having already won two Premiership titles and the Champions Cup with Exeter as well as earning 62 caps for England.

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Slade, 31, said: “There were a lot of factors behind my decision to stay at Exeter Chiefs. I love the club, I’m from just down the road and my family get to come nearly every weekend to watch me play at Sandy Park.

“I joined the academy at 18, so the club is all I’ve ever really known as a professional rugby player. I feel very lucky to be able to say I’ve represented the club over 200 times.

“I call Exeter my home. I’ve started a young family here – my eldest daughter starts school in September – so it just felt right to stay. The club has been my whole adult life, so I just didn’t feel like it was time to go.

“There’s an extremely strong group coming through now, and I’m relishing being one of the senior boys in amongst a group with so much potential to do some great things.

“We’ve started to speak in recent weeks of putting that ‘potential’ label behind us though and start backing it up. We feel throughout the season we’ve had a lot of games to be learning and improving in and while we are ahead of schedule of where we thought we’d be, we’ve got the boys to be able to do some great things.

“Wanting to see what I could achieve with a new group did serve as a bit of a refreshener as it posed a new challenge. I’ve been here for 12 years with a lot of the same faces, and it felt like a very different club this year. Coming into pre-season, it was an exciting challenge.

“I’m more experienced now but I feel like I’m only just coming into my prime. I feel physically in really good shape, mentally excited about what I’m doing and the opportunities here. So, I’m really looking forward to continuing my career here.”

Director of Rugby Rob Baxter added: “I feel we’ve got a lot of key re-signings done for next season, which is a huge part of our recruitment. We obviously feel that we’ve got a team that’s really going to grow over the coming seasons but, the truth is, Henry is probably the key-stone to the process.

“He’s had an incredibly good year, he’s quite rightfully up there as one of the players of the year across the Premiership.

"For us, he’s been an important player for years. He’s embodied what being an Exeter Chief is all about. How hard he’s worked, how much he’s sacrificed for the team, how he personally has grown and helped the team to grow – they’re all qualities that have made him a great Exeter Chief.

“We’re absolutely delighted he’s staying at Sandy Park. He’s been a huge part of what we’ve achieved for a number of years. He’s been fantastic this season, in working very hard himself and setting such high standards for himself, and that’s led to him being rewarded with some great performances in an England shirt.

“He’s been a great leader for us, and guided a strong, youthful team to do well in both Europe and the Premiership. The way he’s trained and played, I can still see him being a real force both internationally and at club level for quite some time yet.”