Exeter complete Devoto deal

Date published: January 15 2016

1006.6666666666666x755__origin__0x0_Ollie_Devoto_Bath

Exeter Chiefs have confirmed the signing of recent England call-up Ollie Devoto from Premiership rivals Bath.

The talented playmaker will move to Sandy Park at the start of next season on a three-year deal and is Rob Baxter's second acquisition for next term following the earlier arrival of Australian prop Greg Holmes.

Having been part of the Bath set-up since the 2012/13 season when he joined the club's Academy ranks, Devoto admits the time has come for a fresh challenge and he sees the Chiefs as the ideal port of call.

"It's a good move for me," said the 22-year-old, who has amassed over 50 Premiership games for the Rec outfit.

"Exeter are a very good club and they've shown over a number of years that they are very ambitious. I like the values they have created, especially in terms of working hard, and that kind of mirrors what I demand of myself.

"Having played against them a few times over the years, you know you're always going to be in for a tough game and that you'll be tested in every area. They are a side built around hard work, but who are also very skilful and who have a number of ways of causing you problems.

"Playing down at Sandy Park, it's always a great atmosphere and a tough place to visit as a player. Games I've had in the past against Exeter down there have tended to stick in my mind, so it will be nice to be on the other side of that."

And whilst Devoto hopes for a warm welcome from the terraces, his arrival in Devon will see him reacquainted with a number of his former England U20s team-mates, such as Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Hill, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade.

"It will be nice to have a few familiar faces when I arrive," he added.

"Obviously I know a few of the lads from the Under-20s group, plus Ollie Woodburn is a good friend of mine and he's told me he's really enjoyed things since he moved down to the club.

"The likes of Hilly, Sladey, Dickie and Nowellsy, they've all come through over the last few years at the club and shown what good players they are. Obviously they've been managed really well by the coaching staff, who are now reaping their rewards for the faith they've put in them.

"All those guys have worked really hard to get where they have, but looking from the outset you could say that is what sums up Exeter. They are all about working hard for one another and the team ethos they have created is clear for everyone to see."

Devoto's move has been warmly welcomed by head coach Baxter, who along with assistants Ali Hepher and Rob Hunter have closely monitored the Yeovil-born back for some time.

And whilst the Chiefs coaching team like what they see, so too does Devoto, who added: "When you play against Exeter it's always a big ask, you know you're going to be defending for long periods as their attack is very strong.

"Hopefully, I can help add bits and pieces to things, but I'm under no illusions how tough getting into the team will be. You only have to look at the competition within the backs to see what strength they have.

"They've not got to second in the league for no reason, they are a very strong side and it will be up to me to go down there, work hard and challenge for my place like every other player."

Before Devoto heads West, he still has to wrap up his final year in Bath colours and the player himself has paid tribute to his current club.

"I'm massively grateful to so many people at Bath," said Devoto, who this week was called into the England EPS squad by new head coach Eddie Jones.

"They were the ones who were willing to give me my big chance and throw me in at the deep end. I've had some great times with the club and it will always be somewhere that lies closely to my heart."

COMMENTS