|Full name||Exeter Rugby Club|
|Location||Exeter, Devon, England|
|Ground(s)||Sandy Park (Capacity: 13,593)|
|Chairman||Tony Rowe OBE|
|CEO||Tony Rowe OBE|
|Director of Rugby||Rob Baxter|
The club was founded in 1871 and since 2006 plays its home matches at Sandy Park, a purpose built facility on the outskirts of the city. They have been known by the name Chiefs since 1999. They were promoted to the Premiership for the first time in 2010. In the 2016–17 Premiership Rugby season Exeter became English Champions for the first time. In 2017-18 Exeter topped the regular season table but lost the Play-Off final; this entitled them to compete in the 2018-19 European Rugby Champions Cup. The current head coach is Rob Baxter who was appointed in March 2009.
Exeter are the only club to win the top four tiers of English rugby, winning the Premiership in 2017, RFU Championship in 2010, National League 1 in 1997 and National League 2 South in 1996. They have won the Anglo-Welsh Cup twice, most recently in 2018.
Exeter Rugby Club was founded in 1871. The club played its first match in 1873 against St. Luke's College. In 1890, they won the Devon Cup. In 1905, Exeter Rugby Club hosted the first match played by the New Zealand national rugby union team on English soil and in the Northern Hemisphere at the County Ground between New Zealand and the Devon County XV. It was from that game that New Zealand became known as the "All Blacks".
When league rugby started, Exeter were initially placed in the Devon leagues.
In the 1990s, Exeter Rugby Club turned semi-professional and changed their name from Exeter Rugby Club to Exeter Chiefs in 1999 after previously being referred to as the Chiefs in the 1930s. In 2016, the club's fans were called upon to change their behavior over concerns that it could be considered an offensive appropriation of Native American culture. News outlets later reported that the club had been urged to change its name. In July 2020, a group set up by Exeter Chiefs supporters called for the club's "racist use of Native American imagery and branding" to be dropped, comparing the use of the headdresses and chanting the Tomahawk Chop to blackface. A petition gained more than 550 signatures in a week, with Exeter's Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, also publicly backing the move.  By Wednesday 8 July the petition had grown to 2,000 signatures and the debate about whether a re-brand was needed gained widespread attention. By 29 July the petition had gained 3,700 signatures and the issue was considered by the Exeter Board of Directors, they decided their branding was "highly respectful" but none the less retired their mascot Big Chief which "could be regarded as disrespectful". This decision was called "tone deaf" by the petitioners and considered controversial in the wider press.
In 1997, Exeter were promoted into the Premiership Two for the first time from National League 1. They regularly finished in the top half of the table. In 2005, Exeter finished second in the league, missing out on promotion by four points behind Bristol Rugby. The next season, they moved from the County Ground to Sandy Park due to a need for modern facilities that included corporate hospitality. In 2008 they again finished in second place and again missed out on promotion by finishing behind Northampton Saints. The same situation happened the next season when Exeter finished behind Leeds Carnegie.
In 2009, National Division One was reorganised into the RFU Championship with playoffs. During the regular league season, Exeter finished second behind Bristol. In the playoffs, they defeated Bedford Blues and Nottingham R.F.C. before facing Bristol in the two legged final. Exeter won 9–6 in the first leg at Sandy Park and then won 29–10 at Bristol's Memorial Stadium in the second leg to win promotion to the Premiership for the very first time.
In their first season in the Premiership, they finished eighth despite a two-point deduction and a £5,000 fine for fielding too many overseas players during their match against Leeds Carnegie at Headingley Stadium. They also made their debut in the European Challenge Cup, making their way to the quarter finals where they lost to Stade Français. In the next season, they finished fifth in the Premiership which permitted them to play in the Heineken Cup for the first time. In their first season in the Heineken Cup, they were drawn against French Clermont Auvergne, Irish Leinster Rugby and Welsh Scarlets in the group stage. They finished the group third with nine points ahead of Scarlets. In 2014, Exeter Chiefs won their first major rugby trophy after they defeated Northampton Saints in the Anglo-Welsh Cup 15-8 at Sandy Park.
In the 2015/16 season the Chiefs finished in second place in Premiership Rugby entitling them to a home semi final in the Aviva Premiership which was played against Wasps. They won the match 34-23 thanks to two penalty tries, a try from Ian Whitten and a try from Dave Ewers as well as two penalties and four conversions from Gareth Steenson. This meant the Chiefs qualified to their first Aviva Premiership final on 28 May. They lost 28-20 to champions Saracens despite tries from England international Jack Nowell and club captain Jack Yeandle as well as 2 penalties and 2 conversions from Gareth Steenson.
The chiefs also reached the quarter final of the European Champions Cup. They were drawn away to Wasps in a tight game which they eventually lost 25-24 in the Ricoh Arena after Wasps' Jimmy Gopperth kicked a last-minute conversion.
Exeter Chiefs won the Premiership for the first time in their history by beating Wasps in the final 23 - 20. The game finished 20-20 at full time with captain Gareth Steenson slotting a late penalty to take it to extra time. After extra time The chiefs landed their maiden Premiership title with another Gareth Steenson penalty 7 years after they won the Championship and promotion, where Gareth Steenson was once again pivotal.
Exeter play their home games at Sandy Park, which is located on the outskirts of the city. The club moved from their previous home, the County Ground, in 2006 having played there regularly since 1905. In 2002, Exeter Chiefs started looking for a new stadium because they felt the County Ground provided insufficient opportunities for growth. Despite concerns and opposition from traditionalists within the club, the motion to move was passed by 99% of the attendees at Exeter's annual general meeting. Sandy Park can accommodate 12,800 spectators, however, there are plans to increase this capacity to 20,600 with phase one having begun in early 2014. These plans came about because of a requirement for later stages of European matches to be played at grounds with a capacity of at least 20,000.
The kit is supplied by Samurai Rugby Gear. On the front of the shirt, SW Comms appear on the centre and the top left and Watson is on the top right. M.J Baker Foods is on the right sleeve. On the back of the shirt, Centrax is on the top while Sandy Park is on top of the squad number and Bradfords Building supplies at the bottom. On the shorts, SW Comms (which also appear on the centre and the top left on the front of the shirt) is on the bottom left of the front shorts while on the back shorts, Frobishers Juice is at the top while Otter Brewery is on the bottom left.
|Premiership||Domestic Cup||European Cup|
|1987–88||Courage League Division 3||9th||8||N/A||John Player Cup||N/A||No competition||N/A|
|1988–89||Courage League Division 3||9th||8||N/A||Pilkington Cup||3rd round||No competition||N/A|
|1989–90||Courage League Division 3||6th||11||N/A||Pilkington Cup||4th round||No competition||N/A|
|1990–91||Courage League Division 3||4th||16||N/A||Pilkington Cup||3rd round||No competition||N/A|
|1991–92||Courage League Division 3||4th||18||N/A||Pilkington Cup||2nd round||No competition||N/A|
|1992–93||Courage League Division 3||3rd||17||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Quarter-final||No competition||N/A|
|1993–94||Courage League Division 3||6th||19||N/A||Pilkington Cup||2nd round||No competition||N/A|
|1994–95||Courage League Division 3||10th (R)||7||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Quarter-final||No competition||N/A|
|1995–96||Courage League Division 4||1st (P)||28||N/A||Pilkington Cup||4th round||No English teams||N/A|
|1996–97||Courage League Division 3||1st (P)||50||N/A||Pilkington Cup||3rd round||Not qualified||N/A|
|1997–98||Allied Dunbar Premiership 2||11th||12||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||4th round||Not qualified||N/A|
|C&G Cup||4th in pool|
|1998–99||Allied Dunbar Premiership 2||5th||29||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||5th round||No English teams||N/A|
|C&G Cup||2nd round|
|1999–00||Allied Dunbar Premiership 2||4th||38||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||4th round||Not qualified||N/A|
|2000–01||National Division 1||3rd||71||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||4th round||Not qualified||N/A|
|2001–02||National Division 1||3rd||92||N/A||Powergen Cup||6th round||Not qualified||N/A|
|2002–03||National Division 1||3rd||104||N/A||Powergen Cup||6th round||Not qualified||N/A|
|2003–04||National Division 1||6th||74||N/A||Powergen Cup||4th round||Not qualified||N/A|
|2004–05||National Division 1||2nd||101||N/A||Powergen Cup||5th round||Not qualified||N/A|
|2005–06||National Division 1||6th||71||N/A||EDF Energy Trophy||Semi-final||Not qualified||N/A|
|2006–07||National Division 1||4th||101||N/A||EDF Energy Trophy||Runners-up||Not qualified||N/A|
|2007–08||National Division 1||2nd||116||N/A||EDF Energy Trophy||Runners-up||Not qualified||N/A|
|2008–09||National Division 1||2nd||119||N/A||EDF Energy Trophy||Semi-final||Not qualified||N/A|
|2009–10||RFU Championship||2nd (P)||88||Champions||British and Irish Cup||4th in pool||Not qualified||N/A|
|2010–11||Aviva Premiership||8th||43||-||LV= Cup||4th in pool||Challenge Cup||2nd in pool|
|2011–12||Aviva Premiership||5th||59||-||LV= Cup||2nd in pool||Challenge Cup||Quarter-final|
|2012–13||Aviva Premiership||6th||59||-||LV= Cup||2nd in pool||Heineken Cup||3rd in pool|
|2013–14||Aviva Premiership||8th||45||-||LV= Cup||Champions||Heineken Cup||3rd in pool|
|2014–15||Aviva Premiership||5th||68||-||LV= Cup||Runners-up||Challenge Cup||Semi-final|
|2015–16||Aviva Premiership||2nd||74||Runners-up||No competition||N/A||Champions Cup||Quarter-final|
|2016–17||Aviva Premiership||2nd||84||Champions||Anglo-Welsh Cup||Runners-up||Champions Cup||3rd in pool|
|2017–18||Aviva Premiership||1st||85||Runners-up||Anglo-Welsh Cup||Champions||Champions Cup||2nd in pool|
|2018–19||Gallagher Premiership||1st||86||Runners-up||Premiership Cup||2nd in pool||Champions Cup||2nd in pool|
Gold background denotes champions
Silver background denotes runners-up
Pink background denotes relegated
- English Premiership
- RFU Championship
- National League 1
- Champions: (1) 1996–97
- National League 2 South
- Champions: (1) 1995–96
- Anglo–Welsh Cup
- EDF Energy Trophy
- Runners–Up: (4) 2001–02, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08
- Devon RFU Senior Cup (tier 5)
- Champions: (16) 1889–90, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96
- Runners–Up: (5) 1888-89, 1904-05, 1976-77,1980–81, 1985–86
- Devon RFU Junior Cup
- Champions: (1) 1905–06 (reserve side)
- Runners–Up: (4) 1903–04 (reserve side)
- Premiership Rugby Shield
- Champions: (2) 2011–12, 2015–16
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
First Team Coaching
|Director of Rugby||Rob Baxter|
|Team manager||Tony Walker|
|Head coach||Ali Hepher|
|Forwards coach||Rob Hunter|
|Defense coach||Julian Salvi|
|Skills coach||Ricky Pellow|
|Academy manager||Rob Gibson|
|Senior academy coach||Haydn Thomas|
Notable former players
- Gonzalo Camacho
- Santiago Cordero
- Ignacio Mieres
- Enrique Pieretto
- Greg Holmes
- Dean Mumm
- Peter Kimlin
- Nic White
- John Maxwell Batten
- R.S. (Dick) Kindersley
- William Ashford
- Jason Hobson
- Thomas Kelly
- Matt Kvesic
- Philip Nicholas
- Geoffrey Dorling Roberts
- Dick Manley
- Martin Underwood
- Tom Johnson
- Geoff Parling
- Mike Rafter
- John Scott
- Mike Slemen
- Thomas Waldrom
- Peter Winterbottom
- Josh Matavesi
- Nemani Nadolo
- Sireli Naqelevuki
- Watisoni Votu
- Michele Campagnaro
- Ryan Caldwell
- Tom Hayes
- Chrysander Botha
- Chad Slade
- Junior Poluleuligaga
- Opeta Palepoi
- Siaosi Vaili
- Moray Low
- Byron McGuigan
- Andy Reed
- Fetu'u Vainikolo
- Will Hooley
- Richard Liddington
- Craig Mitchell
- Phil John
- Richie Pugh
- Ceri Sweeney
- Exeter Chiefs do not separate their academy squad from their main squad on their website, therefore this list includes both
- "Contact". Exeter Chiefs F.C. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "130 Years of Rugby History". Proteus Media. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Tobin, Christopher (2005). The Original All Blacks 1905–06. Auckland, New Zealand: Hodder Moa Beckett. p. 31. ISBN 1-86958-995-5.
- Frank Keating. "How the original All Blacks went down in the annals of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Freshers’ guide to: Exeter Chiefs. "Freshers' guide to: Exeter Chiefs". University of Exeter. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- ""An Interview with Bob Staddon"". 3 September 2012.
- Herrmann, Rachel (9 June 2016). ""Playing Indian": Exeter Rugby in a Postcolonial Age". Centre for Imperial and Global History, University of Exeter.
- "Exeter Chiefs urged to change 'offensive' name by Native American expert". BBC News. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
- "Group Started by Exeter Chiefs supporters petition club to drop racist imagery". The Daily Telegraph. 1 July 2020.
- "The branding debate that has split Exeter Chiefs fans". RugbyPass. 8 July 2020.
- "Exeter Chiefs fans at odds over use of Native American branding". BBC Sport. 8 July 2020.
- "Face-Off: Is Exeter Chiefs' branding appropriate?". Rugby World. 5 July 2020.
- "Exeter to keep Chiefs name & logo, but retire 'Big Chief' mascot". BBC Sport. 29 July 2020.
- "Exeter Chiefs controversially keep logo following branding review but retire mascot". Sky Sports. 29 July 2020.
- "Exeter Chiefs". Scrumdown.org.uk. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Gibbins, Dave (25 May 2010). "Exeter Chiefs closing in on Premiership dream". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Tuckett, Phil (26 May 2010). "Bristol 10-29 Exeter (Exeter win 38-16 on aggregate)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Exeter Chiefs deducted two points and fined £5,000". BBC Sport. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Exeter's hopes of European silverware are dashed". ITV. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Heineken Cup 2012/13 - Points table". ESPN. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Osborne, Chris (16 March 2014). "LV= Cup final: Exeter Chiefs 15-8 Northampton Saints". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 May 2014. In 2014–15 Exeter Chiefs finished 6th in the Aviva Premiership, reached the semi-finals of the European Challenge cup, losing at Gloucester, and reached the final of the LV Cup again, losing 22–20 to Saracens at Franklins Gardens.
- "Aviva Premiership Table: 2015-16". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
- "Premiership semi-final: Exeter Chiefs 34-23 Wasps". BBC Sport. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
- "Premiership final: Saracens 28-20 Exeter Chiefs". BBC Sport. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
- "Match report: Wasps vs Exeter". The Independent. 9 April 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
- "History - Exeter Chiefs".
- "Phase One works to begin at Sandy Park".
- Pilnick, Brent (30 October 2012). "Exeter Chiefs granted permission for Sandy Park expansion". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- "Exeter Chiefs Player List". Exeter Chiefs. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "Exeter Chiefs Coaching Staff". exetercheifs.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2019.