Positive signs as club builds a bridge to the future

A view from the stands at Sandy Park

A view from the stands at Sandy Park - Credit: Marc Astley

I have talked previously about how as a club we are continually looking to build, both on and off the field.

In this past week alone, we have seen significant movement on both fronts, what with the installation of the new link bridge between Sandy Park and the Sandy Park Hotel, as well as the sight of a number of our highly-rated youngsters featuring in the Gallagher Premiership game up at Gloucester.

Without having that vision for the future, we will either stagnate where we are or, more concerningly, we will start to fall behind in terms of our business and our development.

The creation of the £39million, 250-room Sandy Park Hotel is part of the bigger picture in terms of the growth of our business. Our research had shown that without creating it, we would not have been able to attract the more high-profile customers to Sandy Park for events, conferences and other major functions.

Equally, the city of Exeter was also crying out for a facility of this kind. With its links not only to Exeter Rugby Club and Sandy Park, the new hotel will also provide a high-class venue for guests who want to enjoy the benefits of our wonderful region.

Having started the build back in January 2019, I’m delighted to say that we remain on course to open in the late autumn. Despite the numerous challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic, our construction team DNA have continued to deliver and I cannot praise them enough for their efforts.

Other planned changes will also take place in and around Sandy Park over the coming months, helping to further improve our offering, not just on match-days, but also to those using the overall facility during the week itself.

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Back to on-field matters, our defence of the Heineken Champions Cup crown against French Top 14 side Lyon was given a boost by the return of all of our international contingent, as well as a number of our other frontliners.

The rewards of our 47-25 victory were not only instant in the terms of progression into the last eight but, more importantly, it will mean we will have home advantage against Leinster.

At this stage of the competition – and with the way the world currently is – having home comforts is something we must really make the most of.

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