Aviva Premiership: Exeter Chiefs a ‘different level’, says Francis
Aviva Premiership: Tomas Francis says professionalism on show at Exeter Chiefs is on a "different level"
Tomas Francis believes the professionalism on show at Exeter Chiefs is on a “different level” to anything he has experienced before in his playing career.
The 22-year-old is one of seven new signings that head coach Rob Baxter has added to the playing ranks this summer, joining the Devon outfit from Championship side London Scottish.
For me it’s a whole new experience and the professionalism of the whole place is on a different level
But already the young prop says the step up in standard at the Aviva Premiership club is clearly evident and that he knows to succeed he will have to put in the hard graft this pre-season.
“From day one the boys have made me feel very welcome,” Francis said.
“Initially it was a fairly easy start into pre-season, but now it’s started to ramp up and it’s getting tougher by the day.
“For me it’s a whole new experience and the professionalism of the whole place is on a different level. Everything is put in place for us throughout the day, so it’s a big step up from what I have been used to before in my career.”
Having previously featured for Scottish and Doncaster Knights, Francis has watched from afar as the Chiefs have continued to make a name for themselves in the top flight since their promotion in 2010.
Solid starts to each of their four previous Premiership years have helped to lay a foundation for the season and the York-born forward is confident the trend will continue heading into the 2014/15 campaign.
“Exeter have a reputation for starting the season well and I can see why now,” added Francis.
“The work put in here is a lot more than other clubs that I’ve heard about. We’ve done lots of running and the workload throughout is right up there. Pre-season is where you put in the hard work and there’s certainly plenty of that about the place.”
As the Chiefs have shown in recent years, Baxter is not afraid to raid English rugby’s second tier for fresh talent and Francis – who was named in last season’s Championship Team of the Year – is hopeful he can follow the lead of others and make his name within the Premiership.
“It’s certainly possible, you only have to look at the amount of guys in the front five here at the club, lots of them have experienced playing in the Championship,” continued Francis.
“From my perspective, I know I have to get my head down and work hard. We’ve got some good pre-season games [against Cardiff Blues, Ulster and Worcester] – they’ll be tough opposition to face, but it’s a chance for all of us to stake our claim and look to set the tone going into that first game against London Welsh.”