EXETER Chiefs to Taunton Titans is, by now, a well-trodden path - but not many have travelled along it via Pyeongchang.

Yet that is the route taken by Titans new boy Sam Blanchet, who took a break from rugby in 2016 and, within two years, was a Team GB bobsleigh reserve at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The former Chiefs winger and England Sevens international opted for a change having become frustrated by a succession of injuries and, as a result, fallen out of love with rugby.

“I did a talent ID day with the English Institute of Sport,” Blanchet, 26, begins.

“They measure your physical variables – how tall you are, armspan, leg length – and you do various physical tests.”

From there, the results are crunched and certain sports are recommended to athletes.

For the big, fast Blanchet, it was bobsleigh – and it is fair to say he took to it like the proverbial duck to (iced) water.

“I did a trial day, which involved a series of sprint tests and pushing bobs on tracks, and did well enough to get invited back,” Blanchet said.

“I was lucky enough to do the World Cup and World Championships in my first year and I was picked as a spare for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, which was really exciting and a brilliant experience.

“I became a bit of an adrenaline addict.

“I remember going back after my first season and in the first two weeks I was so tired all the time as I was used to getting that buzz three or four times a week.

“I fitted a lot into two years and it was really good fun, as well as helping me kick on as an athlete.”

It was a whirlwind journey for Blanchet, who had gone from rookie to Team GB in the blink of an eye, but in his second year he was once again hit by injuries and he has been rehabbing since breaking his shin in February 2018.

Now nearing the end of his long road back to fitness, Blanchet – who also played in the Championship for Bedford Blues before his three-year break from the game – was looking for a way back into rugby when he took part in the South West Beach Sevens tournament.

The competition on Exmouth beach was organised by Matt Jess, who spent the second half of last season on the wing for Taunton, and saw Blanchet link up once more with Tony Yapp.

“He invited me to train up here [Taunton], which I have been doing for the past few weeks,” Blanchet said.

“I went to University in Exeter, where I was coached by Yappy, and I played a few games for Taunton when I was 17 or 18, so it feels like I have come full circle.

“Training so far has been tough. Physically, I have changed massively - I can’t handle the running yet so I’m coming back into it slowly.

“I am a lot faster now and a bit heavier, as all we did [for bobsleigh] was sprint and lift weights. I can’t imagine my rugby skills have improved that much but hopefully they are still up to scratch!

“I am enjoying getting to know the boys. I knew a few of them – like Dan Lee and Jack Arnott - before and it is nice to see them again after however many years.

“I will take things a day at a time having been out for so long but I am really enjoying it so far.”

If Blanchet can settle back in to rugby as quickly as he took to bobsleigh, the Taunton fans are in for a treat.