Exeter head coach Rob Baxter believes he is adding a potent new weapon to his Chiefs pack for next season with the signing of Aly Muldowney from Magners League side Glasgow Warriors.
The 27-year-old lock, who has agreed a two-year deal with the Devon club, becomes the latest new addition to the Exeter ranks following the recent captures of Craig Mitchell, Kevin Barrett, Myles Dorrian and Josh Tatupu.
Baxter has monitored the imposing second-row forward – who has previously played for Stafford, Stourbridge and Moseley – for a number of years and believes his move to Glasgow has helped further nurture his game.
“We actually had a good look at him a year or two ago and I had a good look at him playing games for Moseley,” said Baxter. “He was a big ball carrier in the Championship, he was probably Moseley’s best attacking player in some ways, he got them over the gain line, but at the time I questioned his work rate a little bit.
“Obviously he’s gone to Glasgow, he’s in a lot better physical condition now, he’s stripped off a fair bit of weight, he did his testing and medical a little while ago and to be fair to him he’s obviously worked hard.
“When you watch him playing now for Glasgow he gets around, I’ve watched games where he’s made 20 carries, 15 tackles, got around the pitch and made his clearouts and won his line-outs. He’s going to have that work ethic we demand of our front-five forwards.”
With Muldowney set to tackle the Aviva Premiership for the first time, Baxter is confident his latest signing can also help add new qualities to what is already a much-talked about Exeter pack.
He added: “I think he’s also relatively disappointed at the amount of game time he’s had at Glasgow, but then he’s been behind the two current Scotland second rows. He’s playing regularly now with those guys being pulled out and he looks to me like a player who is improving all the time with exposure to professional rugby.
“We would like to think we can still knock him on a notch or two as well. He fits a lot of characteristics for us within the side. I didn’t want to bring a big lumbering second row in who wouldn’t get through the work that our front five will.
“There’s still the possibility of us looking out there for another guy, but at the minute I think we’re starting to look stronger there already. We’ve still got Chris Bentley to come back from his arm injury, so we’re looking like we’re getting strength in depth there that will be very important next season.”
For Muldowney the chance to move to Exeter offers not only an exciting new pathway in his playing career, but also the opportunity for his family to be closer to relatives who already live in Devon.
“It’s a really exciting move, not just for me, but also for my family as my wife has relatives who live down in Devon,” said the 6ft 5in, 18-stone lock. “It’s a lovely part of the world and we’re all looking forward to moving down in the summer.
“I’ve come up against Exeter obviously in the past when I played for Moseley, so I know they are a very good team – that are not only skilful, but also very physical in the way they play. The facilities down at the ground are first class, so I’m well aware it is going to be a good environment for me to be in and around.
“Playing in the Magners League was obviously a step up in the standard I was used to in the Championship. I think I have added new things to my game during my time at Glasgow, but this is a great opportunity to further my career at a Premiership club. Again I think it will be another step up in terms of standard, but that can only be good for my game and my career in the long term.”
Although Muldowney will not move to Exeter until the close season, the player says he has already been casting a close eye over his new club and their support base.
“Exeter have always had great support, the fans really love their rugby down there and you can see that on a match-day. Personally, I think it will be great to play in front of big crowds and experience that kind of atmosphere each week. As I said, I’m really looking forward to getting down to Exeter and being part of it all,” he said.
“I’ve also watched a few of the Exeter games on Tv this year and they’ve done really well. You can see that there is a great work ethic at the club and that all the guys are pulling together for each other. They’ve probably surprised a few people with the way they have done this year, but having played against them in the past I know how tough a side they really are.”
Muldowney was also encouraged by the club’s vision for the future following talks with Baxter.
He added: “I spoke to Rob not only about the move down, but what he expected of me and what direction the club were looking to move in. All of what he said was very positive and I am looking forward to being part of the club’s future. Exeter already have some very good second rows at the club, so I know it’s not going to be easy for me, but hopefully my arrival can help add more competition and bring the best out in all of us.”