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Exeter Chiefs sign 135kg Kiwi prop to fill void left by Tomas Francis' departure

By Ian Cameron
Tomas Francis gets grabbed an admirer whilst leaving the pitch

Exeter Chiefs have confirmed the signing of prop Iosefa-Scott from Waikato, a move first reported by RugbyPass last month.


The giant 6’4, 135kg prop is being lined up as a potential replacement for equally massive Wales’ tighthead Tomas Francis, who is set to leave the club after six seasons.

“People will be aware that with Tomas Francis moving on at the end of the season, we were assessing not only the market, but also our own players in terms of what we do next,” explained Chiefs’ Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter told the club website. “Obviously, we have Harry Williams who is already here, along with Marcus Street who we feel is becoming more experienced and more mature all the time. Behind them, we’ve got the likes of Alfie Petch, Matt Johnson and Patrick Schickerling, but I still felt we were lacking that little bit of experienced edge.

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Iosefa-Scott, who made was first named in a Highlanders squad in 2019, appeared for the side in Super Rugby Aotearoa in 2020 but did not return for the 2021 campaign.

“We’ve taken a good look at Josh, who whilst not being what you’d describe as a real frontliner somewhere else, is someone who we feel can really bring something to the squad. As people will know, we’ve had great success in the past looking at players of what you would call that Championship level and then developing them onto real quality Premiership and international players.

“As I said, we watched quite a bit of footage of him and we liked what we saw. We’ve been lucky that we’ve had the opportunity to get him over here earlier than we thought and now we’re going to work hard with him in developing those areas we feel need a bit of work.

Josh Iosefa-Scott
Josh Iosefa-Scott /Getty Images

“Already he’s settled in well and he’s up and running in terms of his training, so having that extra couple of months preparation time with him will be invaluable for us going into next season.

“Looking at him, talking with him, we feel it’s a really good fit for both parties and we see those raw materials in his play – a bit like we saw with Franny and Harry Williams – that we feel could allow him to follow a similar pathway. The fact he is EQP qualified as well, I think the future looks bright for Josh.”

The majority of Iosefa-Scott’s elite game time has come in the NPC with Waikato.


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