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Exeter spark panic among fans with misleading Henry Slade announcement

Exeter spark panic among fans with misleading Henry Slade announcement
Henry Slade has committed his future to Exeter - Getty Images /Patrick Khachfe

Exeter Chiefs left supporters panicking over the future of England centre Henry Slade after posting an ambiguous video that was branded “pathetic” on the club’s social media regarding his contract extension.

The initial video, which showed Slade writing a letter, included the caption ‘Thank you Henry’, leaving it unclear whether Slade was either departing or staying at the club he has played for since 2012.

It was predominantly met with a negative reaction from supporters, with comments beneath the post ranging from confused – “This video is weirdly ambiguous”, “What does this mean???” – to outraged.

“I love you @‌ExeterChiefs but you do regularly try my patience with your woeful comms to loyal supporters. This is not at all ‘clever’ and may just be the worst of the bunch….in a crowded field!” said one supporter. Another added: “Chiefs social media is pathetic”.

Telegraph Sport revealed back in February that Slade had opted to extend his time with the club, partly because of his return to the England side during the Six Nations after not being selected for the Rugby World Cup.

A second video posted by Exeter an hour later was captioned ‘Wait, you didn’t think he was seriously leaving did you?’ accompanied by a winking emoji, with Slade confirming that he was excited to be part of the journey with a young Exeter squad who have surpassed expectations this year.

Confirming Slade’s extension Rob Baxter, the club’s director of rugby, said: “We obviously feel that we’ve got a team that’s really going to grow over the coming seasons but, the truth is, Henry is probably the key-stone to the process.

“He’s had an incredibly good year, he’s quite rightfully up there as one of the players of the year across the Premiership. For us, he’s been an important player for years. He’s embodied what being an Exeter Chief is all about. How hard he’s worked, how much he’s sacrificed for the team, how he personally has grown and helped the team to grow – they’re all qualities that have made him a great Exeter Chief.

“We’re absolutely delighted he’s staying at Sandy Park. He’s been a huge part of what we’ve achieved for a number of years. He’s been fantastic this season, in working very hard himself and setting such high standards for himself, and that’s led to him being rewarded with some great performances in an England shirt.

“He’s been a great leader for us, and guided a strong, youthful team to do well in both Europe and the Premiership. The way he’s trained and played, I can still see him being a real force both internationally and at club level for quite some time yet.”

Exeter’s video idea was not original, with Gloucester having pulled a similar stunt for Ruan Ackermann’s contract extension earlier this season. It was also the second announcement by the club this season which has not gone down well, following a statement back in March from the club’s chief executive, Tony Rowe, “condemning those who doubted” the club.

Exeter did however use an excellent hashtag to go with the Slade announcement: #HenryStayed.

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