Exeter Chiefs appoint Rob Hunter as assistant forwards coach
Exeter Chiefs have appointed England under-20s head coach Rob Hunter as assistant forwards coach from the start of April.
The 40-year-old will head to Sandy Park after three years with the junior international set-up.
Hunter, who played for Northampton and London Scottish, will take some of the pressure off head coach Rob Baxter. And he is looking forward to getting to grips with the Premiership.
Hunter said: "I have had a fantastic time with England, working with some exceptional players and staff over the years, but now I want to test myself within the Premiership. Having that week in, week out challenge of working with a top quality group of lads against some of the best players and coaches in the world is an opportunity too good to miss.
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"Like a lot of people I've seen Exeter really emerge as a Premiership club over the last few years and now I've been given the opportunity to be part of that.
"If I could sum it up, I was watching the recent Clermont away game on TV, a tough day for the Chiefs. In the 78th minute I could hear the travelling supporters still chanting their song and see the players still throwing their bodies in. That’s the sort of club I want to be involved in.
"The support the club receive is excellent and with all the future plans for the place, as well as the wealth of talent that is coming through the club currently, it really is an exciting move for myself and my family."
Hunter cut his coaching teeth in Northampton's academy, where he worked alongside Chiefs assistant coach Ali Hepher.
As well as looking forward to linking up with Hepher again, Hunter is keen to carry on working with some of the youngsters he has coached in the England under-20s squad.
"It's a massive honour for me to get this opportunity, especially at a club like Exeter," he said. "They have had a great surge into the Premiership and established themselves amongst the best teams in the country.
"They have a great group of lads, several of whom I know well from working within the England under-20s set-up.
"Not only do they have a great culture within, but the ambition of the club is huge. The club are looking to develop their ground and move forward on that front, but equally the coaches and players are hugely ambitious and they have assembled a quality squad.
"I have a huge amount of respect for Ali Hepher and it will be great to work with him again. Equally I am looking forward to working alongside and learning from the likes of Rob (Baxter), Ricky (Pellow), Robin (Cowling) and supporting the staff and players"
Academy coach Rob Gibson has helped work with Exeter's forwards for the past few seasons, but as he will be more involved at Bicton College in the future Baxter wanted to bring someone else in.
And the head coach hopes the Chiefs will be able to offer more one-to-one coaching to their players with Hunter's arrival.
Baxter said: "Obviously we are very pleased to have a coach of Rob's quality come to the club. We have always got to be looking to develop and that doesn't apply just to the squad, it also applies the off field squad.
"Rob Gibson has been doing a fantastic job for us for some time now, but he's going to be more heavily involved with things at Bicton College and developing their rugby academy, so there was an opportunity for someone to come in and Rob (Hunter) fits that bill perfectly.
"Having Rob come in will help the workload for sure, but it will also allow us to give more specific coaching to not only the younger guys coming through, but also to the more senior guys as well.
"I think it will not only broaden our strength within the coaching team, but at the same time I'm sure he will come with a few new ideas and make sure we are focused on doing what we need to do in terms of improving all of our players."