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Exeter sign three more players from Wasps

By Liam Heagney
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso in action for Wasps (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Rob Baxter has snapped up three more Wasps players for Exeter just weeks after picking up hooker Dan Frost from the collapsed Gallagher Premiership club. It was October 17 when 167 players and staff were made redundant after the Coventry-based club fell into administration and that free-agent talent has proven attractive to other clubs.

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Multiple players have quickly secured their futures and academy youngsters Alfie Bell, Greg Fisilau and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso are the latest to get fixed after Exeter announced the recruitment of trio on Wednesday night.

A Chiefs statement read: “Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter believes he has picked up three of the brightest young talents in the English game following the confirmation of Wasps slipping into administration.

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“Having already secured the services of hooker Dan Frost last month, Baxter has swooped to seal the signings of academy youngsters Alfie Bell, Greg Fisilau and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.
Lock Bell, who hails from Nuneaton, is an England U20s international and stands at a whopping 6ft 8in tall and tips the scales at 118kg.

“Back row forward Fisilau was born in Plymouth and is the son of former Albion and Tonga centre Keni Fisilau. Like Bell, he too is an England U20s international, standing at 6ft 2in tall and 109kg.

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“Feyi-Waboso, meanwhile, was born in Cardiff and came through Cardiff’s academy before he transferred to Aston University in Birmingham and was then picked up by Wasps. A lightning-quick back, who can play in the centre or on the wing, he has previously featured for Wales at U18s level, as well as being part of their U20s squad. The talented trio, all aged 19, have all been added to the Chiefs squad this week.

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Baxter said: “Once things started happening as they did at Worcester and Wasps, the players we actually started looking at first were the young guys for obvious reasons. I have made it clear a few times now, I want to find guys who have not won anything and I want to find that next group whose sole focus is winning.

“I want a group that enjoys being on a journey that takes them to win Premiership titles, win European Cups or become international players. I don’t mind saying it, but Wasps have a very talented group of players there – they have done fantastically well bringing them through to where they are now – and for me, it was the most exciting thing about looking at the players becoming available.

“Manny has played in their Premiership Cup games on the wing and done very well. He is a bit like Tom O’Flaherty in that he was playing in Wales, but then transferred to Aston University and got picked up by Wasps. Already he looks to me as though he is going very well, he looks good in training and he could easily be thrown into a matchday 23 at any stage.

“Both Greg and Alfie are in the England U20s set-up. When I spoke to Greg, I said tell me about your rugby story and he said he spent a lot of time as a youngster down in Plymouth where his dad was playing at the time. In a different scenario, he could easily have come through our academy system had he spent longer down here.

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“He is another who has played in the Premiership Cup, has had time playing in the Championship, and he looks to be on that pathway similar to Sam Simmonds when he was in the Championship. That really excites me. With Sam moving on at the end of the season, he may well take on that mantle of being that explosive, ball-carrying, all-action No8 for the future.

“And Alfie, he is a big guy, another who has had that bit of experience playing in the Championship, so we are very excited at what all of them will bring. What I like already is that all of them are willing to work and want to improve. That’s a great trait to have and I’m seeing it in abundance from all three of them.”

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