White seals Chiefs deal
NEWS: Australia scrumhalf Nic White has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with Premiership side Exeter Chiefs.
The Australian international, who will join this summer from French Top 14 club Montpellier-Herault Rugby, has become the latest new addition brought to Sandy Park by head coach Rob Baxter.
Capped 22 times by the Wallabies, the 26-year-old scrumhalf made his Super Rugby debut with the Brumbies in 2011 and went on to feature for the Canberra-based club 67 times over the next four years, before in 2015 he made the switch to Europe and a new start in Montpellier.
The gifted number nine has since figured prominently for the French club in both the Top 14 and European Cup competitions, but will now head to Devon for his first crack of life in English rugby’s top tier.
"It’s a really exciting move for me and something we’ve been working on for a little while," said White. "Obviously, I’ve seen Exeter on TV and I really like their style of play, the way they attack games and the brand of rugby they are producing right now.
"When I knew of their interest I spoke to a few guys, people like Dean Mumm, Peter Kimlin and Ruaidhri Murphy, all of whom have played at the club, and they all gave glowing reviews," added White.
"I’ve also spoken to Lachie Turner and Mitch Lees about the club and again it was very positive and they said it’s a great set-up to be involved in, not just in terms of the rugby side of things, but off the field and the big emphasis they put on family and friends,"
White’s arrival will ensure the strong Aussie culture remains firmly in place within the Sandy Park dressing rooms, where as well as Turner and Lees, he will be joined by compatriots such as Ollie Atkins, Julian Salvi, Greg Holmes and Dave Dennis next season.
"It’ll be good to have a few guys from back home alongside me in the sheds,” said White. “But, I’m looking forward to linking up with the rest of the squad as well. As I said, it’s a great move for me and I’m looking forward to trying something new,"
Having tasted life in Super Rugby and the Top 14 previously, White says he expects the Premiership to offer up a different challenge again.
"Just looking at the games involving Exeter, you can see they are an incredibly fit side because their ball in play time is probably the highest in Europe right now," he continued.
"And that’s something that the guys I have spoken to have underlined as well. Clearly good things come to those who work hard and you can see everyone at the club is willing to do that,"
Although vastly experienced, both at club and international level, White acknowledges there is still more to come in terms of his own development, and believes his switch to the Chiefs will help to unearth new skills within his game.
"I’m only 26, so I’m nowhere near the finished article," said the Scone-born back. "I know I still have lots to learn – in all areas of my game – and from speaking to Rob [Baxter] he believes he and the other coaches at the club can help bring even more out in me, which is great news.
"As I said, for me and my wife [Melissa], it’s going to be a new chapter in our lives and we can’t wait to get started,"
Meanwhile James Freeman has also joined Chiefs on a two year deal. The 26-year-old forward will head to Sandy Park from Championship side Jersey Reds determined to prove Rob Baxter's eye for unearthing emerging talent from English rugby's second tier remains as sharp as ever.
Freeman, who becomes Baxter's fifth new face for the 2017/18 season, admits the path trod by the aforementioned is something he is keen to follow - and says the Chiefs have a proven track record when it comes to giving players like himself their big opportunity.
"I'm really excited about the move and becoming part of the Chiefs set-up," said the Solihull-born player. "I've been a massive admirer of what Rob and the club have done since they got into the Premiership - and now I've got the chance to be part of things, I know it's a big opportunity for me,"