Elvis Taione has spoken of his delight after it was today confirmed he has put pen to paper on a new contract extension with the Exeter Chiefs.
The Tongan international is the latest member of Rob Baxter’s squad to commit their future to the current leaders of the Gallagher Premiership.
Brought to Sandy Park in the summer of 2014 from Championship outfit, Jersey Reds, the hard-hitting hooker has certainly proved his worth during his six-year stay in Devon, amassing to date 76 first-team appearances and seven tries.
Now, the 36-year-old forward is looking forward to playing his part in what he hopes will be an exciting period in the history of the Chiefs.
“I’ve been here six years and Exeter is definitely home from home for me,” said Taione. “I enjoy life here, the club is great, the boys are like a family, so it’s all good for me. In a lot of ways, it’s such an easy decision to make because of what we have at the club.
“I’ve been at other clubs in the past, but none of them compare to what it’s like here. It’s a good feeling to know the club and Rob want me to stay, but I have to credit everyone around me because they have helped me improve so much.
“The group we have here is not only very good, but it’s capable of achieving great things and winning trophies.”
With Taione a more than viable option in the No.2 jersey alongside the likes of club captain Jack Yeandle and England international Luke Cowan-Dickie, Baxter is well aware that having the Naku’alofa-born forward around for the foreseeable future is another major boost for him and his team of coaches.
Indeed, Taione has enjoyed his best season to date in Exeter colours this term, stepping up impressively in the absence of Yeandle to injury and Cowan-Dickie earlier in the campaign when he was with England at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“I’m enjoying it,” added Taione. “Like anyone, I’m out there to do a job, but mine is made a lot easier by the other 14 boys. This group we’ve got right now, it’s scary how good they are. Every year everyone is taking their game to the next level, including myself, and I definitely think this season has been my best.
“Obviously, we’ve still got games to play, so it’s important that all of us work hard, keep fit and steady ready for when that moment comes that we have to play again. I don’t want to look back and say I wasn’t ready.
“It’s a pity the season stopped when it did because we had some real momentum behind us, but we can still achieve what we want when we do start playing again.”