EURFC Feature

Rugby Scholar Tom Lawday powering into professional rugby

University Scholars sign professionally for Exeter Chiefs

Having worked consistently hard over the last three years of their undergraduate degrees, with the support of the scholarship programme and the formal link with Exeter Chiefs the students have achieved a dream post graduate role. 

Pete Laverick, Jack Owlet and Tom Lawday have all sealed their post graduate jobs with contracts at Exeter Chiefs. Having worked consistently hard over the last three years of their undergraduate degrees, with the support of the scholarship programme and the formal link with Exeter Chiefs the students have achieved a dream post graduate role. Their progression and commitment has earnt them their desired goal of achieving a full time professional contract at Exeter Chiefs, joining many alumni scholars before them.

Keith Fleming, Director of Rugby, has reflected on this achievement for the scholars - “The formal link between the University and Exeter Chiefs is proving to be a solid player pathway. These players have worked extremely hard balancing their education and training as a professional player, the support they receive from the university and the chiefs has been fantastic and we look forward to the partnership continuing to grow.”

We asked the successful scholars what it means to be offered this opportunity and how Exeter’s programme has set them up for life as a professional rugby player:

Jack Owlet: “The University of Exeter has provided the stepping stone that I needed to progress to professional rugby. I was placed in a competitive environment that allowed me to develop both physically and mentally. The formal relationship between Exeter Chiefs and the University allowed me to succeed and improve with continuous progression. I had clear aims and objectives that allowed me to strive through on-going mentoring and feedback.”

Pete Laverick: “The University of Exeter Rugby programme has helped me massively progress in my rugby career. Having not had any previous links to the Chiefs before joining, I was very lucky to be put forward by Keith Fleming (Director of Rugby) to train with the Chiefs in my first year, and have progressed since then. University rugby, especially at Exeter is an extremely high standard, and it has provided me with an invaluable stepping stone into professional rugby; which I am extremely grateful for.  I'm very lucky to be going through this with Jack and Tom, and I am sure that there will be many more following the same pathway in the next couple of years. This is massive compliment to Keith and the coaches at the University for running such a successful and widely recognised programme.”

Tom Lawday: “It's every young rugby player's ambition to play professionally so being offered the opportunity to pursue a rugby career is a dream come true. The rugby set-up that Exeter University have has definitely served as the platform for me to improve my game and ultimately get me to where I am. The program that the university rugby club follows has given me an insight into the demands of professional sport and has prepared me going forward into my first season with the Exeter Chiefs.  I have had a lot of experience playing for many clubs in the UK and overseas and Exeter University’s rugby club is one that will remain with me for the rest of my life.”

With the three scholars now added to the Chief’s roster they join current Scholar Sam Skinner who has also extended his contract with Exeter for a further two years. Jack Maunder (BA Business & Economics) who has had an extremely successful start to the season with 1st XV appearances and an England Senior Selection to tour Argentina in the summer. Henry Slade who finished the autumn internationals on a high after being a part of the squad to defeat Australia and have an unbeaten calendar year for 2016 and winning the 6 nations has also been included in the tour to Argentina for England.

The effort and attitude that the scholars have has helped them on this path, and sets a great example to future scholars and athletes at the University of Exeter that will have the opportunity to embrace its programming and expectations.

We look forward to watching them represent the Chiefs in years to come.

Date: 23 May 2017

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