Higgins back in the big time
Chiefs boss happy to have utility player on board
Last Updated: 25/06/10 9:14am
Higgins: back with Exeter
Andrew Higgins will return to Premiership rugby with Exeter next season after serving a nine-month ban.
Exeter, who secured their top-flight status for the first time with a play-off victory over Bristol on Wednesday night, had signed Higgins prior to that game.
The wing/centre was suspended by the Rugby Football Union along with two other ex-Bath players - Michael Lipman and Alex Crockett - last August.
They refused a request by their former employers to take drug tests as part of an investigation into events at an end-of-season party in London.
"All our recruitment for last season and this season has been based around players who have something to prove," Exeter head coach Rob Baxter told the club's official website.
"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.
"They all had chips on their shoulders, if you like, and that has been massively important. 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. He is going to be the kind of guy who will help move us forward."
Higgins has already passed a medical test and has started training ahead of Exeter's pre-season that begins in July.
Baxter added: "People might say it's a bit of a gamble, but as far as I am concerned, it's not a gamble. A year off has probably extended Andrew's career for another year - he will be fresh and raring to go.
"Andrew wanted to get out of England and distance himself from everything that had happened. We are fortunate that this is the time he wants to get back into rugby."