|Full name||Exeter Rugby Club|
|Location||Exeter, Devon, England|
|Ground(s)||Sandy Park (Capacity: 12,800)|
|Chairman||Tony Rowe OBE|
|Director of Rugby||Rob Baxter|
|2017-18||1st (runners up)|
The club was founded in 1871 and since 2006 plays its home matches at Sandy Park, a purpose built facility on the outskirts of the city. They have been known by the name Chiefs since 1999. They were promoted to the Premiership for the first time in 2010. In the 2016–17 Premiership Rugby season Exeter became English Champions for the first time. In 2017-18 Exeter topped the regular season table but lost the Play-Off final; this entitled them to compete in the 2018-19 European Rugby Champions Cup. The current head coach is Rob Baxter who was appointed in March 2009.
Exeter are the only club to win the top three tiers of English rugby, winning the RFU Championship in 2010 and National League 1 in 1997. They have won the Anglo-Welsh Cup twice, most recently in 2018.
Exeter Rugby Club was founded in 1871. The club played its first match in 1873 against St. Luke's College. In 1890, they won the Devon Cup. In 1905, Exeter Rugby Club hosted the first match played by the New Zealand national rugby union team on English soil and in the Northern Hemisphere at the County Ground between New Zealand and the Devon County XV. It was from that game that New Zealand became known as the "All Blacks".
When league rugby started, Exeter were initially placed in the Devon leagues.
In the 1990s, Exeter Rugby Club turned semi-professional and changed their name from Exeter Rugby Club to Exeter Chiefs in 1999 after previously being referred to as the Chiefs in the 1930s. In 2016, the club's fans were called upon to change their behavior over concerns that it could be considered an offensive appropriation of Native American culture. News outlets later reported that the club had been urged to change its name. Often their teams at the time[ambiguous] were composed of members and former members of the British Army.[not in citation given]
In 1997, Exeter were promoted into the Premiership Two for the first time from National League 1. They regularly finished in the top half of the table. In 2005, Exeter finished second in the league, missing out on promotion by four points behind Bristol Rugby. The next season, they moved from the County Ground to Sandy Park due to a need for modern facilities that included corporate hospitality. In 2008 they again finished in second place and again missed out on promotion by finishing behind Northampton Saints. The same situation happened the next season when Exeter finished behind Leeds Carnegie.
In 2009, National Division One was reorganised into the RFU Championship with playoffs. During the regular league season, Exeter finished second behind Bristol. In the playoffs, they defeated Bedford Blues and Nottingham R.F.C. before facing Bristol in the two legged final. Exeter won 9–6 in the first leg at Sandy Park and then won 29–10 at Bristol's Memorial Stadium in the second leg to win promotion to the Premiership for the very first time.
In their first season in the Premiership, they finished eighth despite a two-point deduction and a £5,000 fine for fielding too many overseas players during their match against Leeds Carnegie at Headingley Stadium. They also made their debut in the European Challenge Cup, making their way to the quarter finals where they lost to Stade Français. In the next season, they finished fifth in the Premiership which permitted them to play in the Heineken Cup for the first time. In their first season in the Heineken Cup, they were drawn against French Clermont Auvergne, Irish Leinster Rugby and Welsh Scarlets in the group stage. They finished the group third with nine points ahead of Scarlets. In 2014, Exeter Chiefs won their first major rugby trophy after they defeated Northampton Saints in the Anglo-Welsh Cup 15-8 at Sandy Park.
In the 2015/16 season the Chiefs finished in second place in the Aviva Premiership entitling them to a home semi final in the Aviva Premiership which was played against Wasps. They won the match 34-23 thanks to two penalty tries, a try from Ian Whitten and a try from Dave Ewers as well as two penalties and four conversions from Gareth Steenson. This meant the Chiefs qualified to their first Aviva Premiership final on 28 May. They lost 28-20 to champions Saracens despite tries from England international Jack Nowell and club captain Jack Yeandle as well as 2 penalties and 2 conversions from Gareth Steenson.
The chiefs also reached the quarter final of the European Champions Cup. They were drawn away to Wasps in a tight game which they eventually lost 25-24 in the Ricoh Arena after Wasps' Jimmy Gopperth kicked a last-minute conversion.
Exeter Chiefs won the English Premiership for the first time in their history by beating Wasps in the final 23 - 20. The game finished 20-20 at full time with captain Gareth Steenson slotting a late penalty to take it to extra time. After extra time The chiefs landed their maiden Premiership title with another Gareth Steenson penalty 7 years after they won the Championship and promotion, where Gareth Steenson was once again pivotal.
Exeter play their home games at Sandy Park, which is located on the outskirts of the city. The club moved from their previous home, the County Ground, in 2006 having played there regularly since 1905. In 2002, Exeter Chiefs started looking for a new stadium because they felt the County Ground provided insufficient opportunities for growth. Despite concerns and opposition from traditionalists within the club, the motion to move was passed by 99% of the attendees at Exeter's annual general meeting. Sandy Park can accommodate 12,800 spectators, however, there are plans to increase this capacity to 20,600 with phase one having begun in early 2014. These plans came about because of a requirement for later stages of European matches to be played at grounds with a capacity of at least 20,000.
- English Premiership
- The Championship
- Courage League Division 3
- Courage League Division 4
- Anglo-Welsh Cup
- EDF Energy Trophy
- Runners-Up: 2001–02, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08
- Aviva A League
- Champions: 2011-12, 2015–16
- Devon Senior Cup
- Champions 1890, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
- Devon Junior Cup
- Champions 1906 (reserve side)
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
The kit is supplied by Samurai Rugby Gear. On the front of the shirt, SW Comms appear on the centre and the top left and Watson is on the top right. The Contact Hire Supermarket is on the right sleeve. On the back of the shirt, Centrax is on the top while Flybe is on top of the squad number and M.J. Baker at the bottom. On the shorts, SW Comms (which also appear on the centre and the top left on the front of the shirt) is on the bottom left of the front shorts while on the back shorts, Frobishers Juice is at the top while Otter Brewery is on the bottom left.
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- Frank Keating. "How the original All Blacks went down in the annals of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
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- ""An Interview with Bob Staddon"". 3 September 2012.
- Exeter, CIGH (9 June 2016). ""Playing Indian": Exeter Rugby in a Postcolonial Age".
- "Exeter Chiefs urged to change 'offensive' name by Native American expert". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
- Barrie Fairall (1993-02-26). "Eager Exeter take up arms: Two of rugby union's once-feared clubs are making their presence felt again: Barrie Fairall reports on the West Country team who are marching ahead under the command of a Regimental Sergeant Major". The Independent. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
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- Osborne, Chris (2014-03-16). "LV= Cup final: Exeter Chiefs 15-8 Northampton Saints". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2014-05-07. In 2014–15 Exeter Chiefs finished 6th in the Aviva Premiership, reached the semi-finals of the European Challenge cup, losing at Gloucester, and reached the final of the LV Cup again, losing 22–20 to Saracens at Franklins Gardens.
- "Aviva Premiership Table: 2015-16". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "Premiership semi-final: Exeter Chiefs 34-23 Wasps". BBC Sport. 2016-05-21. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "Premiership final: Saracens 28-20 Exeter Chiefs". BBC Sport. 2016-05-28. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "Match report: Wasps vs Exeter". The Independent. 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "History - Exeter Chiefs".
- "Phase One works to begin at Sandy Park".
- Pilnick, Brent (2012-10-30). "Exeter Chiefs granted permission for Sandy Park expansion". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
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- Clark, Neil (2012). It Was Never My Ambition To Become A Hooker. Chequered Flag Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9569460-2-7.