Exeter Chiefs sign fly-half Ceri Sweeney
Rob Baxter thinks new signing Ceri Sweeney will be a ‘great addition’ for Exeter Chiefs after the fly-half agreed a move from Cardiff Blues.
The 33-year-old former Wales No. 10 replaces Ignacio Mieres, who is being released with a year remaining on his contract and is heading to Worcester for next term.
Sweeney, who won 35 caps for his country, will join the Chiefs in the summer on a one-year contract.
He will battle it out with Gareth Steenson and youngster Henry Slade for a starting berth and Baxter said the former Newport fly-half was exactly the sort of player they were looking for.
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"Obviously people are aware that with Nacho moving on next season we were in the market for a new fly-half,” said the head coach. “As always we've looked at a lot of people and done a great deal of research, all of which has led us nicely to Ceri.
"We feel having looked at him and having also spoken to him as well, he ticks all the boxes for us. We think he will be a great addition to the squad for next season and that he will complement well our own two fly-halves in Gareth Steenson and Henry Slade.
"Not only does he come with a great deal of experience at an international level, but he's also run teams through Heineken Cup seasons and played in some very big matches over the years.
“What we also like about Ceri is that he is still very hungry and that he sees the challenge of coming to us a big opportunity in his career.
"He knows there will be a real battle for that starting shirt next season, but I know he's ready to fight tooth and nail for that. At the same time, we feel he will fit into our environment and our culture very well and that his experience will help further develop both Steeno and Henry moving forward."
Sweeney is Baxter’s third new recruit for next season, with winger Tom James also joining from Cardiff while Devonian Dave Lewis returning from Gloucester to add to the options at scrum-half.
As well as James, Sweeney has also played alongside Ben White, Damian Welch and Phil Dollman at club level in Wales.
And the playmaker is relishing a new challenge at Sandy Park next term.
"I'm really excited about the move," he said. "Exeter are a fantastic club and as soon as I heard they were interested in me, I was keen to talk to them and have a look around the place.
“Like a lot of people, I've watched how they have risen over the last few years and how they've made a real name for themselves, not just in the Premiership, but also in Europe as well.
"I also like their style of play and they seem to have some great values within the club, all of which were pretty much in evidence when I went to speak to Rob and Ali. The whole set-up down there is very professional and I couldn't really find fault with anything.
"It's an exciting move for me and for my young family and it's a fresh challenge. I know it will be the first time I've played club rugby outside of Wales, but the thought of testing myself in the Premiership is something I'm really keen to do."