New Chiefs deal delights scrum-half

Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Jack Maunder has penned a new deal with the Devonians and hailed the winning mentality of his side as ‘amazing’.

The 22-year-old follows fellow England internationals Harry Williams and Ben Moon by committing his future to the Chiefs, as the club stands on the cusp of becoming domestic rugby’s dominant force on these shores.
“Obviously, I’m very happy,” said Maunder after agreeing new terms.
“It’s a club that myself and my family have had a big association with for a number of years. For a player like myself, the club ticks every box. It has great coaching staff, a great squad, the culture is amazing and for me, Exeter is home.
“Knowing that my future is with the Chiefs makes things so much easier.
“Coming in every day, you know what you are going to get. I love being around the lads, it’s been a fun few years for me and, hopefully, we can continue to keep pushing forward.
“I know I am very lucky to be part of this squad and if you look around the group we have, a lot of the boys are young and moving into what you would call their prime years.
“There are a few of them that have been here a while now, but they know the Exeter way and how we go about things. For all of us, it’s an exciting time and one that you want to be part of.”
With Australian international Nic White moving back to Super Rugby at the end of this current season, the scrum-half berth is very much up for grabs next term.
Maunder, whose dad used to captain Exeter, will be battling alongside his younger brother Sam, Stuart Townsend and new arrival for 2020-21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne for the number nine jersey and this competitiveness is something he is relishing.
“Right across the squad, the competition for places is huge,” Maunder added.
“If you look at those around my age group, we’ve come in at a time when the club is constantly pushing for trophies. It’s a huge shift from what was the norm a years ago.
“That said, every time we take to the field, we know it’s a huge game. It’s meant that for us as youngsters we’ve had to get used to that big game mentality, whether it’s in the Premiership or Europe, a lot quicker than previous years.
“However, it’s great for us to get that experience, because it not only makes us better as players, but it adds a real competitive edge to things.
“As a group of nines at the club, we all have a huge amount of respect for one another. It’s an exciting group, led by (skills coach) Ricky Pellow, but we all work together to bring the best out in each other.
“I’ve said before how much time and effort Ricky is willing to put into all of us to make sure we’re at the top of our games.
“At the same time, we learn from one another. Whitey [Nic White] is a little bit older than the rest of us, so has that bit more experience, but whoever is playing or on the bench, it’s up to all of us to work together to make sure we’re in the best place possible.
“Every time you train, every time you play, you know you have to be performing because there are three or four who can easily take your spot and do a great job of things. That’s not going to change moving forward, but it does bring a competitive edge that I think we all thrive off.”
Despite White starting the majority of Premiership and European matches since the World Cup, Maunder did enough to be called into England’s Six Nations training squad for their recent, unfinished, campaign. “The call-up did come as a bit of a surprise, I wasn’t really expecting it, but it was great and it definitely gave me a real lift,” said Maunder.
“As a player, you want to push yourself and be playing at the highest level you can, but to do that and be in that environment, you have to be doing well for your club.
“If I’m not performing well for Exeter, then opportunities like that don’t come. My priority, first and foremost, has to be making sure I’m doing well for Exeter and if things follow from that, that’s a bonus.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.