Former Vodacom Bulls forward Jannes Kirsten has seen his good form rewarded with a new contract extension with the Exeter Chiefs.
Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter has rewarded the fine form of the South African import with a new contract extension with the Premiership leaders.
Brought in last summer as injury cover for summer signings Tom Price and Will Witty, the 26-year-old former Bulls forward has certainly delivered on all fronts since arriving in Devon.
Kirsten’s hard-hitting, no-nonsense approach, together with his fantastic work ethic, have not only won him many admirers within the game, but has also seen him establish himself as an integral cog in the Exeter engine room.
With three tries in 22 games already, even Baxter admits Kirsten’s form has probably exceeded his own expectations.
‘Obviously, Jannes has had a great season so far,” said the Chiefs’ director of rugby. ‘When we talk to players about coming in and they ask me about what they think we as a club can do for them as a player, I always tell them that we will create an environment here which, if they are prepared to work hard enough, they will thrive in.
‘In Jannes’ case, that’s exactly what he has been willing to do. From the moment he turned up from South Africa, he’s just go on with things and done everything we have asked of’him. He’s played a lot of rugby and dropped into things very quickly, but that’s down to him and wanting to learn and get involved as soon as he could.
‘Initially he showed all the things we knew he had in his game, like his physicality in his carrying and his tackling and that he was a good set-piece forward, but what he has also been able to show over the period of time he has been at the club is develop other parts of his game without losing that input he is having in games.’
Alongside compatriot Jacques Vermeulen, the two South Africans have been very much at the heart of a lot of Exeter’s success this season, helping the Chiefs not only lead the Premiership, but to also book their place in the last eight of the European Champions Cup.