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‘He’s fighting fit now’-Rob Baxter says Richard Capstick is ready to go

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter says Richard Capstick is ‘fighting fit now’ following his return from injury.

The flanker has missed the majority of the season with a neck issue, however he returned to the field in the Chiefs recent friendly against the Scarlets.

In the 57-19 win over the URC outfit, Capstick put in a solid 80 minute performance, and this earned high praise from Baxter.

“I thought he went exceptionally well,” he told Rugby Nause News.

“To get him available for that game was fantastic. I thought for a guy being out that length time, he looked exceptionally strong around the set piece and carrying and his engine stood up really well and he put a great 80 minute performance in. It was really, really pleasing to see.”

Baxter was also quick to praise the efforts of the medical staff in helping the academy graduate get back to full fitness: “This was a real plus for him and the hard work the medical and the Strength and Conditioning staff put in, because he was ready to go, definitely.”

Richard Capstick back in the ‘front line squad’

Exeter Chiefs v Scarlets Rugby Friendly 10/02/2024. Richard Capstick of Exeter Chiefs battles for possession during the Rugby Friendly match between Exeter Chiefs and Scarlets at Sandy Park, Exeter, United Kingdom on 10 February 2024. Exeter Sandy Park Devon United Kingdom Editorial use only PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK , Copyright: xGrahamxHuntx PSI-18990-0204

Capstick rose through the academy system. He joined the club at 14, and came to the senior set up via spells at feeder colleges Exeter College and Exeter University.

He burst into the first team in 2019, where he made his Premiership debut against Leicester Tigers; and has since gone onto become a key man in the Chiefs back-row.

Since his debut, he has notched an impressive 58 appearances in Chiefs colours, including starting in the 2021 Premiership Final.

This season, however, he has struggled for fitness following a neck injury picked up in pre-season, but Baxter says that the back-rower is ‘fighting fit’.

“The injury that he has got is not a management injury, once he’s right he can just get on with it. That was why we let him stay on there for 80 minutes because that gives him the best opportunity to be ready to play.”

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s fighting fit now. He’s part of our front line squad.”

Capstick isn’t the only back-row forward pushing into the team following injury, with Baxter also confirming Wales international Christ Tshiunza should be back soon.

“He has a load of extra competition to our back row which is going to thicken out because Christ Tshiunza should be back by the time we get back to Premiership games. He would be able to play now if he had been in our previous squads, so he’s ready to go.”

Baxter added these players will only add more healthy competition to the back-row: “When we get back into Premiership our back five looks like it’s got some real good thick competition there and it’s a good thing.”