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'A great move': Exeter bring in South African forward Aidon Davis

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs have added a third new face for next season with the acquisition of powerhouse South African forward Aidon Davis. The 27-year-old follows Leinster duo Jack Dunne and Rory O’Loughlin in sealing a move to Sandy Park, arriving in Devon from the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs. 

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An ex-South African schools and Junior Springbok loose forward, Davis has played the majority of his rugby in his native homeland, but he did enjoy a two-year stint in France where he played for both Toulon and Bayonne.

Davis represented South Africa at the World Rugby Junior Rugby World Championships in 2013 and 2014, played for the Eastern Province Kings and also represented the Southern Kings in the Super Rugby before heading to Europe.

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Freddie Steward | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 26
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Freddie Steward | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 26

After returning from Europe in 2018, he featured for the Cheetahs in the Guinness Pro14 and Currie Cup, underlining his credentials as a hard-working forward who is not afraid of getting stuck into the physical demands of the modern-day game.

“I can’t wait to be part of the Chiefs,” said Davis when asked his move to Exeter. “I have been watching them for quite a while, competing in the Premiership and the Heineken Cup, so it’s a great move for me.

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“It will be my first taste of playing in England, but from what I have seen and chatting with Rob [Baxter] about the whole move it is something that really excites me. The Premiership and the Heineken Cup are probably the best competitions in the world right now, so it will be good to challenge myself in that environment.”

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At 6ft 2in and 110kg, Davis will offer bulk to the Chiefs pack which includes fellow South Africans Jannes Kirsten and Jacques Vermeulen, both of whom Davis has played with in the past at youth level. “I know Jannes and Jacques well, so it will be good to have a few friendly faces in camp when I arrive,” he added. 

“The game in England, though, is a lot about physicality and putting yourself about on the pitch, so that really suits my game. That said, I like the way the Chiefs play. They really like to go through the phases and grind teams down. That doesn’t tend to happen too much over here, so going into another team and playing with different tactics will really help to develop my game even further.”

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