Exeter Chiefs have moved to avoid an injury crisis by signing Argentinian prop Enrique Pieretto until the end of the season.
With the Chiefs having lost tightheads Tomas Francis and Greg Holmes to injury, the 24-year-old has been brought in by Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, to ensure the club are not left lacking in the position.
Francis has been out of action since suffering a serious shoulder injury in Wales’ World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa, and is not expected to be available for selection for up to four months.
Holmes will also be sidelined for the foreseeable future having sustained an Achilles injury in Exeter’s Premiership Rugby Cup game at Leicester Tigers in September. The Chiefs do not expect to have him back on the pitch until early 2020.
The Welsh reaction to Tipuric's rumoured £500,000 move paints its own, rather sad, picture. https://t.co/ljuJtnNVmH
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 18, 2019
Baxter says that the arrival is Pieretto is a sensible move for the club.
The prop, who has been capped 24 times by Los Pumas, was already in England having featured for the Barbarians on Saturday.
“After two or three scans it became clear that Tom needs an operation to repair the shoulder injury he picked up with Wales at the World Cup,” said Baxter. “It’s not great news for us, but at least we know where we stand now.
“We’ve therefore moved pretty quickly not just because we’ve lost Tom, but also Greg’s Achilles has proved more problematic than we first thought. Again, he’s going to be out for two or three months, so we felt it was the right thing to do to strengthen ourselves at tight-head.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) November 18, 2019
“That doesn’t mean we are not going to continue to develop guys like Marcus Street or Alfie Petch, but we don’t want to leave ourselves in a situation where another injury could leave us really stretched.
“Therefore, we looked on the marked and, as things happen, Enrique is over here playing for the Barbarians, he’s here, he’s ready to go, he’s played at the World Cup and with the Jaguares, and it just works for us to get him involved with the squad.
“We’ve been able to have a good look at a number of his games, both at club level and international level, and at 24 years of age, he’s looks a good tight-head. That said, we still feel we can work on him and get even more out of his game, which is hugely exciting.”
Exeter currently sit fifth in the Premiership table, having won two of their opening four games.
Watch: John Dobson talks Super Rugby pre-season
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.