Byron McGuigan delighted with new Exeter Chiefs deal
Scotland international secures new one-year contract with the Sandy Park outfit
Byron McGuigan admits he is delighted to agree a new one-year deal with Exeter Chiefs following his short-term contract with the Aviva Premiership club last season.
The 25-year-old Scotland international played 17 times and scored three tries for the Sandy Park outfit following his arrival from Bay of Plenty in November as injury cover for Chrysander Botha.
Last season we got to a final, a semi-final in Europe and we just missed out on the play-offs, so I know this is a club moving in the right direction.
The versatile back, deployed across the backline at full-back, wing and outside centre by head coach Rob Baxter, had been considering a return to New Zealand for the ITM Cup campaign which runs from August to October.
But with the Chiefs set to have a number of backs involved in the Rugby World Cup in September and October and strength in depth required by all clubs for a congested Premiership and European campaign in 2015/16, McGuigan’s ability to adapt to playing a number of positions, as well as his availability and desire to stay in the West Country made negotiations easy.
And the Namibia-born is looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season and challenging for a place.
“I’m very happy to be staying with the Chiefs,” McGuigan said.
“I really enjoyed last season; I love being part of the club, and I always said I wanted to stay here in Exeter.
“From day one it’s been an awesome experience for me. The players, the coaches, people around the club and the fans – they’ve all been brilliant and made me feel very welcome.
“Already working with the coaches here, I know my game has improved a lot and it’s been great to be part of a squad that have done so well.
“Last season we got to a final, a semi-final in Europe and we just missed out on the play-offs, so I know this is a club moving in the right direction.
“Looking ahead, I know the make-up of the squad next year looks very strong, so hopefully we can work hard again and maybe go that one step further.
“Knowing I’m here for another year at least, I know I can come into pre-season, get my head down and focus on trying to get into the first team again.
“Because I’ve been here for a while now, I don’t feel like a new-boy any more.
“I know the guys, they know me, so it’s all good. I just want to do my best in training and in games and help the Chiefs as best I can.”
The Chiefs have already made a number of high-profile signings for next season, including forwards duo Geoff Parling and Julian Salvi from Leicester Tigers and Italian international centre Michele Campagnaro from Benetton Treviso.
Sometimes we have put him in some pretty difficult situations. He came to us relatively late and has had to learn a lot quite quickly, but I think he has done really well.
All of the qualities he has shown mean we want him to stay around for a bit longer.
The club also enjoyed their best season in the Premiership, narrowly missing out on the play-offs, losing in the European Challenge Cup semi-finals, and losing their LV=Cup title to Northampton Saints in their second final in as many seasons.
McGuigan, who made his name on the HSBC Sevens World Series with Scotland and in the PRO12 with Glasgow Warriors before his brief stint in New Zealand and move to Exeter, has made a solid start to his career in England since making his debut against Bath in the LV=Cup in November.
And Chiefs boss Baxter believes there is still more to come from the player and they were happy to sign him up for another season as they make a return to the European Champions Cup and look to make the Premiership play-offs for the first time.
“Byron has some great qualities,” Baxter said.
“He is a great competitor, who really enjoys being at the club. He has really bought into all the elements of our culture and work ethic and he is a great team-mate, and has done well for us every time he has stepped on to a rugby field.
“Sometimes we have put him in some pretty difficult situations. He came to us relatively late and has had to learn a lot quite quickly, but I think he has done really well.
“All of the qualities he has shown mean we want him to stay around for a bit longer.”
“I am really pleased for him and pleased for us.
“It works well for both parties and I hope he can continue to develop his qualities and the way he is playing.
“He has done some good things for us; he fitted in very well, very quickly, and he expressed an interest in staying early.
“He was initially contracted to go back to New Zealand to carry on playing, so there was a bit to sort out on that front. However, that is done now and I’m looking forward to him taking part in a full pre-season.”