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Exeter statement: The signing of Jimmy Roots, Ethan’s young brother

By Liam Heagney
New Exeter signing Jimmy Roots (Screenshot via Exeter Chiefs)

Exeter boss Rob Baxter has bolstered his front row options for next season by recruiting tighthead Jimmy Roots, the younger brother of England back-rower Ethan. His signing follows a prop exodus at the Gallagher Premiership club, a list of departures that includes former England hopeful Patrick Schickerling heading to Glasgow.

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A statement read: “Exeter Chiefs have recruited tighthead prop Jimmy Roots ahead of the 2024/25 season. Roots is the younger brother of current Chief and England international Ethan, and he joins the Chiefs squad from RFU Championship side Ealing Trailfinders after two seasons with the second-tier champions.

“The 24-year-old front rower was born and raised in New Zealand before moving to England to pursue his rugby career. The younger Roots’ sporting journey has so far included time spent with Blues U20s, East Coast Bay and North Harbour.

“He was signed with North Harbour in the National Provincial Championship before joining Ealing. While older brother Ethan now has international caps for England, Jimmy has represented New Zealand at U20s level.”

Roots said: “Signing for Chiefs has been pretty daunting as well as exciting. It’s a challenge and a big step up, but it’s one that I’m excited for. Being back with my brother is really cool, but I’m looking to make the most of my opportunity and take it with both hands.

“Speaking to Rob and the other coaches, there are good aspirations here to build something special, and that has shown in the team they have picked every week with a lot of young boys coming through. Hopefully, I can earn a game at a time and then see where it takes me.”

Director of rugby Baxter added: “We knew we were making a few changes in our front row department, so we are always on the lookout for young players who we feel can develop and grow and that have their best years ahead of them.

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“Getting to know Ethan has been a bonus as we can see the impact that he has had. Jimmy came to the UK with a very good reputation in New Zealand having represented their U20s, so he is a player that we have been keeping an eye on for a while.

“We are pleased with the rugby he has been playing and the potential he has displayed. We feel he is a guy who can come in to be here for some time, where he can develop into a guy who drives the team forward.

“He is very dynamic on the ball, he likes to run into people and hit them hard – so he has got some really good attributes of what a modern front row forward can be. So, if we can work hard with him on his set piece and other elements of his game then he is one of those guys we can see a real upside to.

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Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

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S
Shaylen 5 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

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