|Full name||Exeter Rugby Club|
|Location||Exeter, Devon, England|
|Ground(s)||Sandy Park (Capacity: 12,600)|
|Chairman||Tony Rowe OBE|
Exeter Chiefs (officially Exeter Rugby Club) are an English rugby union club based in Exeter, Devon that currently play in the English Premiership, the top level of domestic rugby union in England. They also compete in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and European Rugby Cup competitions.
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 after previously being referred to as the Chiefs in the 1930s. Often their teams at the time[ambiguous] were composed of members and former members of the British Army. In 1993 and 1995, they reached the quarter finals of the Pilkington Cup before being knocked out by English Premiership opponents Leicester Tigers and London Wasps respectively.
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 reorganized 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. Also in 2013, they, along with Saracens, were the only rugby club to hold a minutes silence before their game against London Irish to remember the death of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher. 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.
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 was insufficient for growth. Despite concerns of 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 currently accommodate 12,600 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.
- Courage League Division 4
- Champions 1995–96
- Courage League Division 3
- Champions 1996–97
- The Championship
- Champions 2009–10
- Aviva A League
- Champions 2011–12, 2015–16
- Anglo-Welsh Cup
- Champions: 2013–14
2016-17 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, Central 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.
- "Contact". Exeter Chiefs F.C. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "130 Years of Rugby History". Proteus Media. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- Tobin, Christopher (2005). The Original All Blacks 1905–06. Auckland, New Zealand: Hodder Moa Beckett. p. 31. ISBN 1-86958-995-5.
- Frank Keating. "How the original All Blacks went down in the annals of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- Freshers’ guide to: Exeter Chiefs. "Freshers’ guide to: Exeter Chiefs". University of Exeter. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- 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. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Exeter Chiefs". Scrumdown.org.uk. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- Gibbins, Dave (2010-05-25). "Exeter Chiefs closing in on Premiership dream". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- Tuckett, Phil (2010-05-26). "Bristol 10-29 Exeter (Exeter win 38-16 on aggregate)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- "Exeter Chiefs deducted two points and fined £5,000". BBC Sport. 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- "Exeter's hopes of European silverware are dashed". ITV. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
- "Heineken Cup 2012/13 - Points table". ESPN. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Exeter Chiefs' Thatcher silence 'wrong decision'". BBC News. 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- 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.
- 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.
- Clark, Neil (2012). It Was Never My Ambition To Become A Hooker. Chequered Flag Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9569460-2-7.