Rob Hunter relishing his role with the Chiefs
ROB Hunter is looking forward to getting stuck into his new role as Exeter Chiefs' assistant forwards coach in April.
The England under-20s head coach will leave his job with the RFU at the end of the Six Nations and start work at Sandy Park.
He will take some of the pressure off head coach Rob Baxter, with academy coach Rob Gibson devoting more time to Bicton College's academy.
"It's a massive honour for me to get this opportunity, especially at a club like Exeter," said Hunter. "They have had a great surge into the Premiership and established themselves among the best teams in the country.
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"They have a great group of lads, several of whom I know well from working within the England under-20s setup.
"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 a quality squad."
Hunter played for Northampton and London Scottish and cut his coaching teeth with the Saints' academy.
While at Franklin's Gardens he worked alongside Chiefs assistant coach Ali Hepher and Hunter is looking forward to linking up with him again.
"I have a huge amount of respect for Ali Hepher and it will be great to work with him again," he said. "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."
Baxter thinks Hunter's arrival will add a breath of fresh air to the coaching team, while also allowing him to work on things behind the scenes.
He said: "Sometimes you need to be careful that things don't become repetitive. I'm very much aware that can happen sometimes and that's why it's good to freshen things up now and then.
"This season has also shown – especially having so many contracts up for renewal – how much time can get taken up by those sorts of things, so it's important that we maintain a strong focus on how we play and what we do out on the pitch."