Higgins to make Premiership return with Exeter
May 28, 2010
Former Bath wing Andrew Higgins will return to the Premiership with Exeter © Getty Images
Andrew Higgins will return to the Guinness Premiership next season with Exeter Chiefs, a year after walking away from rugby in the wake of the Bath drugs scandal.
The Chiefs sealed promotion to the top flight with a two-legged Championship play-off victory against Bristol on Wednesday and have quickly welcomed Higgins into the fold.
The winger left Bath, along with Michael Lipman, who has joined Melbourne Rebels, and current Bristol centre Alex Crockett, after the trio were suspended from the game until February 2010 for failing to undertake drug tests as part of the club's enquiry into allegations of misconduct at an end-of-season party in London in May 2009.
Exeter coach Rob Baxter had no reservations about calling on Higgins, believing that the player's desire to prove himself again at Premiership level will be a major boost to their survival hopes.
"All our recruitment for last season and this season has been based around players who have something to prove," he said. "If you look at James Scaysbrook, Phil Dollman and Mark Foster; they were all players who had massive points to prove because they had either dropped out of a Premiership side or had just not been making it at their club.
"The fundamental thing for Andrew is he has a lot to prove too. I had a very good meeting with him and I think he is a guy who is desperate to show people what a good player he is and to put things behind him. He did not run away from anything I asked him. He was very honest. People might say it's a bit of a gamble but as far as I am concerned, it's not a gamble."
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin