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Exeter Chiefs forwards Hanks and White had no doubts about re-signing

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 14, 2012

Rob Baxter's Exeter Chiefs are now expected to win games against big clubs in competitions like the Heineken Cup picture: Mat Mingo/Pinnacle

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Exeter Chiefs' ambition to continue moving forward as a club ensured forwards Ben White and James Hanks had little hesitation in signing new deals.

The Devon club have come far since winning the RFU Championship in 2010, earning promotion to the Aviva Premiership.

Last season's progress, in their second campaign of top-flight rugby, saw them qualify for the Heineken Cup and narrowly miss out on the play-offs.

The outlook for the 2012-13 campaign looks even more promising with Chiefs currently on a six-game winning run, spanning the Premiership, Heineken Cup and LV= Cup.

Lock Hanks, who made his Chiefs debut in 2005, said: "It was an easy decision to sign again. You see the ambition of the club and the way it is moving forward all the time, so it's a place you want to play and a place where players want to be at and I am really excited about the future.

"I've been here a long time now and it's definitely a great place to be. Hopefully that will continue as we look to move forward and everybody seems very excited about the next few years.

"I'm still only 28 so I do feel there is still plenty to come from me, there is no reason why I can't improve and push on. Tight five forwards don't tend to reach their peak until they are 30-odd, so I still feel I've got lots to offer the club.

"We are a tight-knit squad and it is always good to see guys sticking around who have been part of what we have achieved recently, I'm no different in that respect and it will be great to be part of everything again for the next two years. We recognise we have good players here and obviously we want as many of them to stay here."

Back-row White has made 31 appearances for Chiefs since arriving from Cardiff Blues in 2011. He was equally keen to commit his future to the Devon club for a further two years.

He said: "It's been a good two years for me at the club. The Chiefs is a great club, I love all the guys from the Academy right through to the big dogs – and as I said the coaching staff are fantastic right through from the conditioning staff to Rob, Ali, Ricky, everyone really. The all-round package is great and I want to be part of that.

"Before I came here I thought there was more physicality in the Premiership, but having been here a while I would say the big difference is there is more pressure in the Premiership. Every game is must-win because of the relegation factor and that means there is more pressure and a bigger emphasis on every game to perform.

"Signing on again was pretty easy, I didn't really have to think twice. As I said, I love it down here and the club is a great club and very ambitious. I personally think it's the best place to play rugby that I have been in."

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