Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has secured the signature of Welsh tight-head prop Tomas Francis until the end of the 2018/2019 season.
Francis is the latest big name player to commit his future to the Chiefs. The likes of Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, as well as others such as Don Armand, Mitch Lees, Alec Hepburn, Thomas Waldrom and Harry Williams.
“In Tom’s last contract, the club had a clause in there that we could extend the contract if certain terms were met, and we have decided to go with that, and have extended his deal by a further two years beyond the end of the 2016-17 season," Baxter told the Exeter Chiefs website.
“I know he is delighted with that, and we are obviously very pleased that a player who came to us from the Championship and has been with us for a couple of seasons now sees his long-term future with us, and hopefully we can help keep developing him as not only a Premiership and European quality player, but also as an international. Once you get hold of a good player and you start working with them, you are investing in them all the time, and the way you get that investment back is if those players stay around.
“It was an easy call for us, and hopefully Tom as well, and a player who has come here and seen some immediate success is now prepared to stay here for the next few years of his career.”
As always, Baxter carried out detailed analysis on the 24-year-old prior to his arrival in Devon and he says the form shown by Francis has come as no real surprise to him.
“I always like to think it is a two-way street … We, as a club, work hard on our recruitment policy and like to see certain facets in someone’s game that we know are good foundation elements for us, and we saw those in Tom. But, at the same time, players have to come here and be prepared to work very hard, and that’s what we see with a lot of these guys.
“We like to think we provide an environment, with the coaches and facilities we have here, for them to be able to thrive if they are prepared to work hard, and I think that is what we see most of the time – a guy who comes here and is prepared to work hard will get the rewards – and that’s what we have seen with Tom."