Now­ell and Slade to stay as Ex­eter beat dead­line to ex­tend con­tracts

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Char­lie Mor­gan

Ex­eter Chiefs have an­nounced con­tract ex­ten­sions for 30 first-team play­ers, in­clud­ing Eng­land reg­u­lars Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Now­ell and Henry Slade, as well as Scot­land cap­tain Stu­art Hogg.

Direc­tor of rugby Rob Bax­ter re­vealed the agree­ments had been fi­nalised be­fore June 18, mean­ing only 75 per cent of their value would count to­wards the Pre­mier­ship’s re­duced salary cap for the 2021-22 sea­son and beyond.

Sev­eral high-pro­file names are be­lieved to have been tied down on three and four-year deals with­out need­ing to ac­cept pay cuts. “I’m de­lighted with what has hap­pened,” Bax­ter said of a process that also brought ex­ten­sions for favourites such as Sam and Joe Sim­monds.

“It seems strange re­ally, be­cause there has been an aw­ful lot of news com­ing out from other clubs in re­gards to what is hap­pen­ing around pay cuts, play­ers leav­ing, play­ers stay­ing, yet we have got on with our busi­ness pretty quickly.

“In the end, we used that pe­riod be­tween the salary cap change be­ing dis­cussed and when any new con­tract that would be al­lowed in the new salary cap sys­tem to be fi­nalised to sort some­thing like 30 con­tracts. They are not all four-year deals, nor are they all for one year.”

Bax­ter ex­plained that Ex­eter’s strong fi­nan­cial po­si­tion meant that the small num­ber of first-team squad mem­bers not to be of­fered new con­tracts could still stay on.

Ben Moon, Jack Maun­der, Tom O’Fla­herty and Elvis Taione agreed new terms dur­ing lock­down, while multi-year con­tracts for new ar­rivals such as Jonny Gray, Josh Hodge, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Aaron Hink­ley re­main un­af­fected.

Bax­ter added: “Not ev­ery player has got an ex­ten­sion, but for those who haven’t, it’s kind of ir­rel­e­vant be­cause they may well be think­ing, ‘Let’s see how the next year goes and where I stand.’ It doesn’t mean they will be leav­ing.”

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