Exeter Chiefs have announced that Ireland second-row Ryan Caldwell has joined Sandy Park from Aviva Premiership rivals Bath.
Exeter Chiefs have announced that Ireland second row Ryan Caldwell has joined them from Premiership rivals Bath.
The 29-year-old has put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the Chiefs and is the latest addition to Rob Baxter's first team squad for the 2014/15 season.
Baxter has made no secret of his desire to bolster his options in the Chiefs engine room having lost both Tom Hayes and James Hanks to retirement during the current campaign, while New Zealander Romana Graham is moving to French club side La Rochelle after a short spell with the Devon club.
Caldwell – who has spent the past three years with Bath – arrives in the Westcountry with plenty of experience having not only featured in English rugby's top flight and Europe, but also on the international stage having won two caps for his country during their summer tour to Canada and the USA in 2009.
Prior to joining Bath, Belfast-born Caldwell was initially part of Ulster's Development squad before eventually stepping up into their senior ranks in 2005 where he amassed over 70 appearances for the club.
Widely regarded as a proven force in the second-row, Caldwell says he is relishing his move to the Chiefs and hopes that he can help the club to kick-on following another successful season which included winning the LV= Cup against Northampton Saints in March.
“It's a great move for me and one that I am very much looking forward to,” Caldwell told Exeter's official website.
“Obviously it's a new challenge for me in my career, but I like the brand of rugby that the Chiefs play and hopefully I can go down there and play a big part for them next season.”
Already Caldwell will have a few familiar faces to welcome him into Devon life, having previously played with both Gareth Steenson and Ian Whitten back home as a youngster.
“Steeno and I are good friends from back home and we played a lot together as youngsters,” he continued.
“I also know Ian Whitten from my time at Ulster, so it'll be good to have a few friendly faces to welcome me in when I join up with the rest of the guys. The team spirit you can see is great down at Exeter and it comes through so often in their performances on the pitch.”
Indeed, having come up against the Chiefs during his playing days with Bath, Caldwell knows the threat his new club offer to rivals and he says he is keen to add his skills to the mix next term.
“They've shown over the last few years that they are a side that are on the up and that they can compete with the very best clubs,” added Caldwell.
“Having played against them a few times, I know they're a hard-working and tough side to come up against.
“They've always seemed to have a big, strong pack of forwards and behind they've got guys in the backs who can work the magic.
'As I said, I'm just looking forward to getting down there, settling in and see what I can bring to the table.”
Caldwell also admitted he was impressed by the thoughts of his new head coach Baxter, as well as the developments happening on and off the field at Sandy Park.
“Rob didn't really have to sell the club too much to me, you can see the ambition that everyone has at the place and the work that is going on around the stadium demonstrates that,” he said.
“I had a good chat with Rob about everything and he made everything sound very attractive.
“He said the players are the priority first and foremost, so I'm looking forward to being in that environment and hopefully pushing the club on further.”
Caldwell is expected to link up with his new team-mates for the first time next month when the Chiefs report back for the first phase of their pre-season programme.