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Exeter Chiefs close to Votu signing, says Baxter

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 05, 2012

Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter

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Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter expects to complete the signing of Fijian international wing Watisoni Votu within the next week.

The 27-year-old's move to Sandy Park is pending a successful visa application, and that process should be finalised imminently. Lautoka-born Votu travelled with club officials to the UK Border Agency in Cardiff on Monday.

Baxter said: "He's in the country and we're hoping, having taken him to the UK Border Agency on Monday, all the necessary paperwork will be finalised shortly.

"As far as we are concerned, it's now all systems go and we hope to hear back from the agency in the next week to ten days, after which we hope to then formally register him as an Exeter player.

"The Border Agency gave the go-ahead for his visa application, so everything is looking very positive. He should be registered to play for us in the very near future."

Votu played alongside the Chiefs' centre Sireli Naqelevuki for Fiji in their recent autumn international against England at Twickenham. Baxter said he will come into an Exeter squad nearing full fitness, and with competition for places fierce, though.

Exeter have won their last five games in all competitions. Baxter added that their victory against Wasps last weekend in the Aviva Premiership has set them up nicely for a return to the Heineken Cup this weekend against Welsh side Scarlets.

"You have always got to be pleased to be winning games of rugby," he said. "It is also pleasing to be getting the squad a little bit fitter and fresher.

"Having Votu here now completes the recruitment we've made. We've got [wing] Gonzalo Camacho back, [prop] Craig Mitchell is nearly fit, and [flanker] Ben White is virtually there now.

"We had a couple of good LV= Cup performances, and we won the final A League game of our group as well," Baxter added.

"The fitness of the squad is one of the key things for your campaign, and we always felt that after the unlucky run we had earlier in the season there was the potential for us to be almost at our peak, post-Christmas.

"Hopefully, we won't pick up too many more injuries and keep everybody fresh.

"Everyone is enjoying what they are doing, and I think that is the key at the moment. They are all hunting little targets. We targeted a first away win of the season at London Irish and then backed that up against Wasps.

"Now we are targeting a first win the in Heineken Cup. We need to move on from what we've done and make sure we get a win over the next two weeks."

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