New Exeter Chiefs signing Nic White is loving life in the Premiership and the atmosphere of the matches he is playing in.
The very likeable 27-year-old Australian international scrum-half has played four years for the Brumbies in Super Rugby, and two years with Montpellier in the French Top 14, but he admitted his opening weeks in England’s top flight had taken his experience up another notch.
“It has lived up to my expectations so far,” White told me after Thursday’s training session.
“I enjoyed going to Gloucester in our first game and the fans there in The Shed were amazing.
“You just don’t get that sort of atmosphere back home.
“Then to come back here to Sandy Park to play London Irish, and the conditions weren’t great and it was pouring down with rain, but there were a lot of people here creating an amazing atmosphere.
“I said to the guys ‘that was great’, but they said to me: ‘It will only get better. Wait until a nice day and the ground is packed.’ I couldn’t believe what they were telling me.
“It is nice to know that rugby is alive and well in this country.
“I think the Premiership has evolved over the last three to four years.
“There was this perception coming from the south that up here it was all about set piece and it was all just kicking and kick-chase in a long winter, but watching Exeter, especially last year, and seeing how much they play, and now everyone is kind of starting to adopt that style, and even watching England players, everyone is doing it.
“The Premiership is really be- coming a competition that rivals, if not already is, the best in the world.”
One or two law tweaks were made during the summer to help make the game even more open, and White believes they are also benefitting the product.
“It should free things up a little bit, especially the changes around the ruck, and we will see a lot more ball in play, which is better for the spectators and will keep them happy and keep the stadiums full and create a great atmosphere, but it is still extremely competitive out there in that area of the game.
“Everyone from one to 15 can pilfer a ball, and nowadays, everyone is happy to put their head in a dark spot, and it is not just sevens and sixes that you have to look out for.”
The Premiership table had a familiar look to it going into this weekend, with last season’s top three of Wasps, Exeter and Saracens back up there again, though this time the Chiefs at the summit, but the fact everyone has lost a game only three rounds into the new season shows how competitive the Premiership is, and White agreed.
“I think everyone is saying how competitive it is and that there are no easy games and teams can catch a win home or away against anyone,” said White.
“Every game is a big game and there is no taking a light week against anyone, and that is a credit to the competition, and that is why players are coming from overseas and wanting to be a part of this, because it is a prestigious competition.”
Exeter have improved in each game they have played so far, and White is looking for them to take an- other step forward against Wasps today.
“We are building into the season, and while we were going pretty hard into round one, we can always go a bit further and further, and that is what we are searching for each game, and hopefully this week we can take it to another level,” said White. We will worry about ourselves and about our processes and working hard, and hopefully the result will look after itself.”