Painter dreaming of Exeter glory as he gets set to face Saints for first time

Ehren Painter is eager to help Exeter Chiefs bring the glory days back to Sandy Park.
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Painter is gearing up for his first return to Saints after exiting the club for Exeter back in March.

And there’s no doubt the switch to Chiefs has already been a success for the tighthead prop, who has helped his new club to hit the summit of the Gallagher Premiership.

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Hopes are high among the Exeter players that they can enjoy the kind of success that saw the club claim Champions Cup glory in 2020 and reach six successive Premiership finals.

Ehren Painter is a Saints Academy product (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Ehren Painter is a Saints Academy product (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ehren Painter is a Saints Academy product (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

But Painter, who has scored two tries in four league appearances so far this season, is keeping his feet on the ground.

"We need to be tested properly first," the 25-year-old said.

"It's still early days and I'd love to say that (emulating the great Exeter team) is absolutely what's going to happen.

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"But there's still a lot more trials and tribulations to come first before we're going to say we're as good as that group because they were such a special group.

"Hopefully we're going in the right direction. It'd be absolutely amazing if we can do what they did and it's everyone's dream.

"I was there for the end of season farewells and I was listening to Harry Williams and Luke Cowan-Dickie thinking these boys have done everything you can possibly do in a rugby shirt from club level to international to Lions, and they did it off the back of those fantastic seasons.

"It's every player's dream right there, and this club knows how to do it and it's really special and it gives me great confidence to think that we can replicate it."

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Saints Academy product Painter has thrived in Chiefs colours.

And he told BBC Sport: "It's unique in the way that we don't have any expectations, but we play like we're absolutely desperate.

"We're desperate because not a lot of us have had lots of game time in the past and we're desperate to take this opportunity.

"But we don't have last season to compare our performances with because it's such a new team and there's new challenges.

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"It's just a very healthy way of looking at your rugby, and the way that Rob (Baxter, Exeter director of rugby) gives us goals and the way he speaks to us and the fact that he asks for us to come off the pitch proud.

"That's easy to say and difficult to do, but it's those small things that have really made a big impact on me playing when there's a little bit more perceived pressure in the Premiership."

Painter moved to Exeter in March as Saints drafted in Trevor Davison from Newcastle Falcons.

And the 25-year-old has made a huge impression on Exeter boss Rob Baxter so far this season, becoming a key man in the Chiefs front row.

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"When I spoke to him I said 'we want you to come and we want you to focus on your scrummaging first'," Baxter said.

"That's kind of allowed him to just be himself, but that's also allowing the other guys to get behind him, it's allowing the other guys to understand what an important part of the team our tighthead props are and our whole front row are.

"I watch Ehren play now, and I did talk to him a bit about things that were happening around the field when he played for Northampton, and I just said there were a few simple things we want him to concentrate on, and he's doing those."