Exeter have continued their busy off-season of retention by adding three more Chiefs names to the list of players extending their stays.
Fresh from helping the England Saxons to success on their tour of South Africa, Don Armand, Alec Hepburn and Mitch Lees have all put pen to paper on new deals with the Premiership club.
The trio are following the lead of team-mates Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade, all of whom have returned from England’s victorious tour to Australia and agreed new three-year deals with the Chiefs earlier this week.
Head coach Rob Baxter has talked often in the past of his desire to reward those players who have produced high quality performances and who can take the club onto new levels in the future.
In the case of Armand, Hepburn and Lees, the talented trio all played pivotal roles last season as the Chiefs not only advanced to the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup for the first time, but pushed Saracens all the way in the Premiership final at Twickenham in May.
Having the six players all commit their immediate futures to the club is a huge boost for Baxter, who has said others are set to follow suit in the coming days and week.
For now, though, the Exeter leader is "delighted" to have agreed terms with Armand, Hepburn and Lees.
"These are players we have gone out and looked at and thought very highly of, and have brought them through either from Championship level, or with Don, the level below Super Rugby because he hadn’t quite broken into that level over there," said Baxter.
"They have added a lot in their short time they have been with us and we think they are players who are going to play a big, big part in the future of the club going forward.
"Mitch and Don had real stand-out seasons last year and they are starting to show that they could be two of the best back-five forwards in the Premiership, and that was shown by them going on the Saxons tour, while Alec has just been getting better and better in his time with us.
"We made a decision to bring him in early to the club and nurse him through some injury rehab, and I think that was a really good decision, and that allowed him to put some foundation work in, which allowed him to have a good season last year, and I thought he was absolutely fantastic on the Saxons tour, probably one of the stand-out forwards."