Wales fly-half Ceri Sweeney excited to be joining Exeter Chiefs
Ceri Sweeney has admitted he is "excited" by the challenge that awaits him, having agreed to join Aviva Premiership club Exeter Chiefs on a one-year deal.
The 33-year-old fly-half becomes the second Cardiff Blues back – following club-mate and fellow Wales international Tom James – in swapping life in the principality for Sandy Park.
Vastly experienced and with 35 caps to his name, Sweeney will join the Chiefs having spent the past five years in the Welsh capital with the Blues, where he has scored 324 points in 109 appearances – and before that spending four seasons with the Newport-Gwent Dragons, where he scored 570 points in 86 appearances.
His move to the Westcountry, however, will see Sweeney sample his first taste of life in the English leagues and it is something he is keen to experience after talks with Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter and his assistant, Ali Hepher.
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"I'm really excited about the move," said Sweeney. "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.
"As I said, 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."
The Chiefs have been on the hunt for a new number ten after it was confirmed Argentina fly-half Ignacio Mieres would be joining rivals Worcester Warriors from the start of next season.
That search has now concluded with the acquisition of Sweeney, whose experience of playing at the highest level is something that is sure to benefit not only the Chiefs, but also fellow Exeter play-makers Gareth Steenson and Henry Slade.
"I'm sure my experience is something that can help the club," he added. "But my main aim will be to work hard, work closely with the other tens, and basically look to bring the best out of one another."
Baxter said: "With Ignacio moving on next season, we were in the market for a new fly-half. 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 compliment 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."
Baxter added: "I think 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."