Tom O’Flaherty signs new deal at Exeter Chiefs
PUBLISHED: 13:19 19 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:19 19 April 2020
Tom O’Flaherty insists he and his Exeter Chiefs team-mates will be ‘raring to go’ as and when the season resumes for the Devon club.
Like all of us, the 25-year-old winger is having to abide the rules of the Government’s lockdown during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
However, when rugby does finally resume, the London-born speedster will be looking to drive the Chiefs onwards and upwards, especially after it was confirmed today that he has signed a new long-term deal with Rob Baxter’s side.
Brought to Sandy Park in the summer of 2017 from the Ospreys, Baxter has once again proved how shrewd he is in unearthing hidden gems. Not only has O’Flaherty blossomed under the Chiefs’ Director of Rugby, but at the same time he has turned himself into one of the Premiership most dangerous attackers.
News that he is extending his stay with the Chiefs will be welcomed by many, particularly given his strike-rate of 15 tries in 39 first-team appearances.
“I’m delighted to have re-signed with the club,” said O’Flaherty. “Since coming to Exeter, my game has improved so much but, at the same time, I still think there is more improvement in me.
“Getting the new deal is great. I was happy to stay, we’ve got a great bunch of boys here, and the the whole environment in and around the club is really good. Having the right environment in any work plays a key factor as to whether you enjoy things, but I come in every day, I enjoy training and we’ve got a great group of people who all share that same common goal.
“Since I have been here, the club have been extremely competitive in Premiership and this year we topped our group in Europe. Of course it’s easier to play at a winning side, but on the other hand, it’s also a lot harder because you are expected to maintain those high levels every time you play or you train.”
Although O’Flaherty initially had to bide his time before truly breaking into the first-team ranks at Sandy Park, recent times have seen the fleet-footed winger become a vital cog in the Chiefs back division.
“When everyone is fit, wing is a tough position to get into the team,” explained O’Flaherty. “When I first arrived, it was tough to break into the team. That, I suppose, was to be expected given the high calibre of players in my position. I knew I had to work hard and I had to take a lot on board on. I did that and thankfully that hard work has paid off.
“As I said, I’m delighted that I am staying because this is an exciting time for all of us at the club. A lot of the squad are around a similar age and we’re all maturing and coming into that peak period in our careers. If we can achieve what we set out to do, it could be a fantastic few years ahead. However, it all comes down to putting in the effort and doing the hard work!”
Having come within a whisker of landing his first Gallagher Premiership title last June, O’Flaherty is hopeful that when the Chiefs do return to action, the current table toppers can once again push towards another Twickenham final, as well as advancing in the latter stages of the Heineken Champions Cup.
“It’s tough for everyone at the moment,” he continued. “Personally, I can’t wait to get back amongst the lads, having a laugh, training hard and getting out on the pitch again. Hopefully, rugby gets going sooner rather than later. When it does, though, I know all of us at the Chiefs will be ready and raring to go.”
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