SKINNER FEATURE

Recent Graduate Sam Skinner leading the pathway from University to Chiefs

Chiefs and University lead the way in 2018

The current champions and present leaders of the Aviva Premiership, Exeter Chiefs, are holding on to the top spot aloft the best teams in the country, as are the University’s Men’s 1st XV Super Rugby Team. Both teams are leading the way for 2018, with the next round of BUCS Super Rugby taking place next week… Is this coincidental? Or is this more proof that Exeter has become one of the leading power houses for Rugby in the country. 

It is no coincidence that the current premiership champions and the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) most successful rugby club are in pole position and leading the charge on what hopes to be a competitive and successful start to the ‘business end’ of the season. The University has had a flourishing partnership with the Chiefs for close to two decades and has seen many alumni pass through its books, helping the Chiefs to achieve their now dominant form over some of the more well-known top flyers of English club rugby. If we look to this year alone, the University has had ten current students feature for the Exeter Braves side, which does not include the players that have featured heavily in academy games and the Singha 7s during the summer. It should be noted that playing for the Brave's is no mean feat as they always feature international players, either returning from injury or picking up more game time before representing the 1st XV-an unparrelled experience for any student athlete.

We are half way through the season and looking at the statistics both teams are yet to lose at home in BUCS Super Rugby or the Aviva Premiership… University of Exeter Director of Rugby Keith Fleming has told us that there is “no magical formula or special way in which the University or Chiefs have achieved their current "Top Top" status, but rather a controlled progression of work ethic, culture and one club mentality that has led to Exeter now being a dominant force in the country.”

Quick fixes and BIG money signings are not in the business models for either establishment, with the stars of the Chiefs and now England, coming from their own academy system (Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Luke Cowan-Dickie) who are being joined by the University's High Performance Programme athletes that have completed their degrees and earnt full time contracts-most recently Sam Skinner, Jack Owlett, Pete Laverick and Tom Lawday.

The second half of the BUCS Super Rugby Season and Aviva Premiership sees both teams face their biggest opponents and contenders for the top spot. Will Exeter’s ingrained work ethic and prowess see them to the title? The latest viewing figures for the BUCS Super Rugby indicate that there are plenty of people wanting to find out with 242,545 people live streaming the Loughborough vs Exeter fixture in November and Exeter Chiefs regularly selling out their 13,000 capacity stadium with viewing figures well into the millions across the Aviva Premiership on weekends, it would seem like plenty of people are willing to watch what Exeter is offering.  

If you are interested in following the University of Exeter Men’s Rugby Club on social media then follow them on twitter @EURFC and Facebook @Exeter University Rugby Football Club and you may well be following the future Chiefs stars of tomorrow. Next up in BUCS the University host Durham at the University Topsham Sports Ground on Wednesday 17th at 2pm in what will be a huge game for both teams following the Christmas break. 

Date: 12 January 2018

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