Exeter Chiefs have received a letter from a Royal Family member congratulating them on their double-winning season.

Rob Baxter’s men lifted the European Champions Cup for the first time in their history with a thrilling victory over Racing 92 in Bristol, before following it up with their second Premiership title a week later by beating Wasps at Twickenham.

And their success has caught the eye of Princess Anne, who visited Sandy Park stadium in 2007.

The Princess Royal, who is daughter of the Queen and Prince Phillip, wrote to club chief executive Tony Rowe to offer her congratulations on an outstanding season.

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She wrote: “It seems like only a year or two ago, Exeter Rugby Club very kindly asked me to open the new Sandy Park Stadium. I was delighted to do so and was very impressed with everything I saw, but that was 26th June 2007.

“Sandy Park Stadium has certainly changed in order to cope with the Chiefs’ growing success, Premiership Rugby in 2010, English Premiership title and now the DOUBLE.

Princess Anne’s letter to Exeter Chiefs’ Tony Rowe

“I would just like to offer my congratulations to all involved in the success of what is a true club effort.

“The impact on Exeter as a city and the South West is obvious, but it also an example of what a Rugby Club can do for its fans, the local community and, more broadly, fans of rugby everywhere, including Scotland.

“Well done and thank you for all you do for the game of Rugby Union.”

Mr Rowe responded on the Chiefs website, saying: “As a club we were honoured to have received this letter from Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal.

“As she rightly pointed out, she officially opened Sandy Park back in 2007.

Princess Anne meeting Tony Rowe at Sandy Park in 2007

“I know she has a great interest in rugby union, particularly Scottish Rugby, and with a number of their internationals now plying their trade with the Chiefs, I am sure she will have an even greater interest in our fortunes.”

The club actually moved to Sandy Park from the County Ground in 2006, and appointed Baxter as head coach in 2009 before winning promotion to the Premiership in 2010.

Since then, they have won the Premiership and Anglo-Welsh Cup twice, and lifted the European Champions Cup this year as well.

They began the defence of the Premiership title with a comprehensive 33-3 win at Harlequins on Friday night.

They host Bath on Saturday in a Westcountry derby, before a trip to Leicester Tigers.





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