On the day the 25-year-old committed his future to the Aviva Premiership club for the next two years, the Chiefs head coach gave the talented scrum-half a ringing endorsement of the quality he brings to his side.
A pre-season elbow injury sustained at Cardiff Blues meant Lewis was forced to sit out much of the opening half of the season, but now fully fit the former Gloucester back is looking to help the Chiefs kick on.
“Dave’s probably been a bit unfortunate with the injury at the start of the season,” said Baxter. “Maybe not for him but for us the season started very well, Will Chudley has been showing some very good Premiership form and that’s meant Dave’s opportunities have been limited because Haydn has been doing a good job for us as well.
“A bit like in the last LV and European block, Dave will get some opportunities in the next five or six weeks, we very much see it being a three-way fight between them when we get back out of that block. There’s a lot of the season left yet for Dave.”
Having been a part of the Chiefs’ Academy set-up as a youngster, Lewis initially cut his teeth in the top flight with the Cherry & Whites before Baxter brought him back to Sandy Park at the beginning of last season.
Lewis wasted little time in settling in to his surroundings and played a key role for the Chiefs both in the Premiership and Europe, as well as helping the club clinch the LV= Cup against Northampton Saints last March.
Such form has clearly impressed Baxter, who believes the Manchester-born ace will only get better in the ensuing years.
He added: “The way he was improving last year meant we were always going to look to keep him this year. We feel we have got a good group of scrum-halves here. Haydn is getting a little bit older now and maybe is becoming the elder statesman, but the other two are still young enough and still improving with Premiership game time all the time.
“It’s exciting for Dave, we’ll see a lot of him performing in the next couple of years.”
And with the Chiefs set for a busy period of Cup action following Sunday’s league trip to London Irish, Lewis will be hoping to once again showcase his credentials on the big stage.
“It’s been tough on Dave,” continued Baxter. “We showed some real form for a period, I know we’ve been through a bit of a sticky patch these last three weeks, but making changes for changes sake is not something we panic into doing.
“There will be some opportunities for him to have a big say on how the rest of the season goes.”