Rob Baxter's joy as Dave Lewis agrees to join Exeter Chiefs
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes new signing Dave Lewis will add competition at scrum-half next season after he agreed to move from Gloucester.
The 23-year-old played for Exeter's second string as a member of the Academy before joining the Cherry and Whites in 2007. But he will return home to Devon in the summer to challenge Haydn Thomas and Will Chudley for the number nine jersey.
However, his arrival could spell the end of the road for Kevin Barrett and Junior Poluleuligaga at Sandy Park.
Head coach Baxter thinks Lewis' experience – he has made 88 appearances for Gloucester – and style of play will add to the mix in the half-back area.
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Baxter said: "Dave is a young guy with bags of Premiership experience already and things have changed a little bit at Gloucester with Jimmy Cowan turning up there.
"He's a local guy and, if he was based at Ivybridge now in the Academy, he would never have gone through our fingers and would be playing at Exeter, so it's nice to get a local lad back.
"He's a solid performer in the Premiership, he's shown that plenty of times, he's been part of exciting, attacking teams and his attributes are very good for the side.
"We've got Haydn Thomas and Will Chudley under contract who are very good attacking, high-tempo scrum-halves and I think Dave will really add to the mix there.
"He's coming down to try to challenge for a starting spot and that's what we want, we want as many players in each position who can push on and try to prove something within our squad."
Lewis, who was a pupil at Blundell's School in Tiverton before attending Ivybridge College as part of the club's Academy, thinks it is time for a fresh challenge in his career.
"I've really enjoyed all my time at Gloucester. Not only have I got to make a lot of good friends, but I've got to play with some fantastic players and in some very big games over the years," he said.
"The supporters up there are second to none and as a player it's great to have that kind of support behind you each week. It's never easy to say goodbye at any time, but I do feel the time is right for me to try a new challenge and going to the Chiefs will hopefully bring the best out of me."
Lewis, who represented England at up to Under-20 level, has kept in touch with developments at the Chiefs since he left, particularly since they won promotion in 2010.
"It's exciting and I'm really looking forward to the move," he said. "In a strange way, it's like going home for me because I still have my family and a lot of friends down in Devon. The Chiefs are a side that I've kept an eye on for some time, especially since they got into the Premiership, and they are a team who play with a lot of attacking intent, pace and they play a good brand of rugby."
He added: "I knew a bit about the place already, but having talked to Rob [Baxter] I liked what he had to say and the direction the club are taking.
"My parents have also kept me informed about things like the stadium redevelopment, so even from the outside you can see the club is making positive steps on and off the field.
"Since they've come into the Premiership they've shown they have a real good work ethic within the group and that they are a tough side to beat.
"Also, you can see it's a very professional environment and that they've got some great players within the squad."
Exeter fly-half Myles Dorrian has returned to Bedford Blues on loan until the end of the season. The 30-year-old joined the Chiefs in 2011, but has made just nine cup appearances for them.
With first-team opportunities limited for Dorrian, Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has given his blessing for the player to return to Goldington Road where he played 63 times, scoring 201 points during a two-season spell.
Baxter said: "We have several players here that want to be playing rugby and, now that we've concluded our A League and our LV= Cup programmes, some of these guys have asked, if there is an opportunity to play rugby somewhere, they would like to play."
Former Exeter back-row forward Charlie Walker-Blair has signed for Championship club Jersey.