New Exeter Chiefs settling in well, says Tom Hayes
Exeter Chiefs lock has Tom Hayes praised the club's coaches for the work they have done integrating new players over the summer.
A number of the Chiefs' new arrivals got their first run-out at Sandy Park in the Devon club's pre-season friendly against Bristol at the weekend and impressed with their performances.
Fetu'u Vainikolo, and Tom James marked their home debuts with tries while fellow summer arrivals Ceri Sweeney and Dave Lewis also made pleasing contributions.
There is still more to come when the likes of Romana Graham and Don Armand get their first taste of a home match-day.
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Hayes, who led the side once again against Bristol in the absence of new skipper Dean Mumm, was pleased with many elements of Chiefs' 51-7 victory over their former Championship rivals.
He said: "The new boys have come in and, as always, it is a credit to the coaches, the way the new players have been able to come in and express themselves with a system that is fairly easy to slot into.
"The likes of Vainikolo and Tom James settled in well and showed themselves in attack, which is a real positive. We have more boys coming in for selection and that is good for the squad.
"There certainly are a lot of positives. I think the previous week against Scarlets was a game really affected by the weather, in terms of putting all our attacking patterns and philosophies in play.
"This week against Bristol, we really wanted to force through things we have been working on all summer, the little tweaks here and there, and we wanted to put those into a game.
"There are still a few things for us to work on in terms of set-piece attack and things like that, but there were a lot of positives.
"We scored some good tries out there, working off our defence and out of our own 22 when it was the right opportunity to do so."
The Chiefs' young players have also impressed in pre-season so far. The club's five England Under-20 players, who won the Junior World Championship over the summer, will look to become first-team regulars in the Premiership this term.
While Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Hill and Joel Conlon have made the headlines recently, players such as Jack Arnott and Dave Ewers show equal promise.
"We have some young boys coming through from the academy and they are showing very well," said Hayes. "The boys that are in the England Under-20s over the summer have brought a lot of confidence out of that and are not afraid to step up and show what they can do.
"Having the young players coming through as well are like signing new players, playing with confidence and a spring in their step. They bring some energy to the team and have been really sharp."
Hayes also feels that Chiefs' final game of pre-season against Glasgow Warriors this weekend should put them in good stead for their Premiership opener against Northampton Saints on September 7.
He said: "It is building up again and we know it will be another hard test for us. Glasgow will be the week before the new season and will want to be playing at the intensity we will for the league games.
"We know it will be difficult and that is just what we need going into the Northampton game. It will be another step up in terms of intensity."