Caldwell relishing Ulster challenge

Date published: August 21 2014

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New Exeter lock Ryan Caldwell wants to build on an encouraging start at the club when he plays in Friday's friendly at Ulster.

New Exeter lock Ryan Caldwell wants to build on an encouraging start at the club when he plays in Friday's pre-season friendly at Ulster.

The 29-year-old was one of eight new recruits brought to Sandy Park by head coach Rob Baxter during the close season – and he got his first taste of action at his new club when he featured in the second half of the 24-17 win at Cardiff Blues.

On Friday, Caldwell returns to his Belfast birthplace aiming to sink his former club as he starts in a powerful Exeter pack for their latest pre-season work-out.

The Irish international spent six years at Ravenhill before making the switch across the Irish Sea to Bath in 2011 – and subsequently onto Devon this summer as part of the Chiefs make-up for the 2014/15 season.

Ahead of kick-off at the newly-named Kingspan Stadium, Caldwell said the Chiefs could expect a stern test from the Irishmen on their own turf.

“Ulster will be a tough game away from home, they've got a lot of good players there and over the last few years they've been a really good squad,” he told Exeter Chiefs' official website.

“It's a good place for us to go and see where we're at away from home.

“Personally, I'm definitely excited about going back and excited about getting my first start for the Chiefs as well, which is more important. Going back to my old stomping ground will be a bit of fun.”

Caldwell admitted he was impressed by the form shown by the Chiefs against the Blues, but he says it's vital they continue to build with the new Aviva Premiership season just weeks away.

The Chiefs kick-off their league campaign on September 7 at newly-promoted London Welsh, but have warm-up tests against Ulster and Worcester Warriors next week to fine tune their game plan.

“All the stuff we've been working on over pre-season went pretty well last week for a first hit-out and we're looking to build on that this week,” added Caldwell.

“There have been a few things we've said won't work and a couple of things we'll keep in the bag for the first round against London Welsh.

“Things are going really well and the boys are all excited now to kick-on this weekend as we're getting close to the Premiership.”

With Baxter set to run the rule over another large travelling party from the Chiefs, Caldwell said it's important he makes the most of his opportunity to shine.

“I just want to keep building on last week and see if I can kick on this week. I want to make a case for myself to be in the squad for round one.”

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