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Argentinian international Grondona to stay at Chiefs

By Ian Cameron
Santiago Grondona /Getty

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Argentinian international Santiago Grondona is set to stay at Exeter Chiefs, the club has confirmed.

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Grondona arrived at Sandy Park back in November on what Rob Baxter has called an ‘opportunity contract’ but Exeter have liked what they’ve seen and are keeping the 23-year-old on.

The 6’6, 106kg back row has featured eight times for the Devon club this season, scoring a try in a recent away game at Worcester Warriors.

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Ospreys coach Toby Booth reviews his team’s disappointing loss to the Lions at Ellis Park
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Ospreys coach Toby Booth reviews his team’s disappointing loss to the Lions at Ellis Park

He lines out in the Exeter Chiefs team that will play Leicester Tigers today.

“I’m very happy to stay here. It’s incredible news for me, because I am enjoying everything so far and, hopefully, it will get even better next year. Since arriving, the club, Sandy Park, the boys, it’s all been amazing and I am learning new things every day from the coaches and the other players,” said Grondona.

“Right now, we are in an important moment in the tournament. We’re in the top four, pushing hard and needing to win, so we’re preparing for every game like a final. Being here, I know the Premiership is a very tough league with very good players, but it’s what I want to do.”

Helping Grondona to settle into life at Sandy Park has been team-mate and compatriot, Facundo Cordero, who he was quick to praise for his input.

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“Facu has helped me a lot,” added Grondona. “He picked up the first day, brought me to the club and showed me around, told me the calls and helped with everything. Having him here has been very good for me but, as I said, all the boys and all the staff have been amazing.”

Director of rugby Rob Baxter was also enthused that the international was staying at the club.

“Obviously we’re delighted that Santi is staying. He came here initially on what you would call an ‘opportunity contract’ because we had a few injuries, but he has really proved his worth, shown the qualities we know he has, and he’s learning all the time. For us, it was an easy decision to extend his stay,” said Baxter.

“We know he will want to go away and play with Argentina and we obviously want him to play well enough for us to get selected by Argentina, but we also know he will come back and be available for large parts of the season, including through the Six Nations period, so again it’s about putting together that squad that makes things all work together.

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“At the moment, I think we have only really scratched the surface in terms of what Santi can bring to the team. I think he is improving all the time, he’s fitting in more and more, and I actually that although he looks good at the moment, the growth and the development of him as a player is massive.”

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