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Saints' Lamb on Chiefs radar to replace Mieres

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

  • Ryan Lamb

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ROB Baxter admits Ryan Lamb is one of the options Exeter Chiefs are looking at to replace Ignacio Mieres next season.

The Northampton fly-half is out of contract in the summer and has come on to Baxter's radar after the decision was taken to release Mieres from the second year of his contract.

The Argentina international wanted to move on to boost his chances of playing for his country and has secured a deal with Worcester for next season.

With fellow No. 10 Myles Dorrian out of contract at the end of this campaign, the Chiefs only have Gareth Steenson and England under-20s ace Henry Slade tied down for next term.

Exeter's coaching staff looked at Lamb two years ago when the former Gloucester youngster moved from London Irish to Northampton.

Head coach Baxter said it was important they brought in a player who could take the club on further in the absence of the unsettled Mieres.

"What we do now with our signings is going to be important," Baxter told Echo Sport. "There's no way we can go into a Premiership season next year under strength in a key position but we'll take some time to assess the options, meet with a few people and go from there.

"We're aware Ryan (Lamb) is out on the market. There are various options, he's one of them, but there are other options as well.

"We're not rushing into anything at the minute, we're having a good look around and it's important for us to find a guy who's the right fit and will fit in with the way we play.

"We have to make sure that the situation ends up in a benefit to the club, not a negative. We have to replace Nacho (Mieres) with a player who's going to drive us forward."

Slade has started three LV= Cup games this season but Baxter needs another experienced fly-half alongside Steenson for next season.

However, with Slade tipped to have a bright future in the game, the Sandy Park boss knows they have to bring the 19-year-old through carefully.

"Steeno is under contract for next year, Henry Slade's under contract for next year and we're going to spend some time assessing the options that are out there on the market and how we want to manage the fly-halves we've got," Baxter continued.

"Henry is going to be a very important part of our plans going forward, he's got great potential, and the timing of introducing him into the Premiership is going to be very important."

Mieres, 25, joined the Chiefs in October 2010 and, after taking a while to find his feet, established himself as the first choice No. 10 last term, starting 19 of the 22 Premiership games.

He lost his place to Steenson earlier this term, however, after the Irishman put in an accomplished display against Harlequins in September.

Mieres has only started one match since – last weekend's 28-19 LV= Cup win against Northampton – and has been an unused replacement five times.

Baxter said the decision was taken to release him as he did not want unhappy players in the squad.

"Sometimes you end up with a scenario where a player's not happy and you've got to make calls on what's best for the squad moving forward. That's what's happened with Nacho," he said.

"He's a guy who's desperate to play for Argentina, he's desperate to be involved in the next World Cup and he has come to the conclusion that playing every week is the most important thing for that and he feels that is more likely to happen at Worcester. Because of that this has come around.

"The bigger picture is that a happy squad, with players wanting to be here whether they're in the team or not, is the key thing we want.

"It's not a decision that's been made lightly and I think everyone's just got to have confidence that as a management group we see it as something that is better for us in the long-term."

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