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Exeter to sign one-time Ireland centre and a lock from Leinster - report

By Ian Cameron
Rory O'Loughlin /PA

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The mini-exodus at Leinster is set to continue with a total of five players now linked with imminent moves away from the province.

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Gerry Thornley in The Irish Times is reporting that Rory O’Loughlin is set to join Jack Dunne in signing for Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership.

Rob Baxter’s Exeter, who are known for their canny recruitments, have already seen the benefit of signing underutilized Irish centres, with former Ulster midfielder Ian Whitten enjoying a remarkable career in Devon. With Whitten now 34, Baxter may be hoping to strike gold once again.

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Like Whitten – who won a couple of caps for Ireland on a summer tour in 2009 – O’Loughlin enjoyed an extremely brief Ireland carrer, earning just a solitary cap for Ireland back in 2017.

The 28-year-old has made 91 appearances for Leinster since making his debut back in 2016.

Young lock Jack Dunne has been linked with Exeter for some time now. The Chiefs are looking to fill the giant hole left that will be left with the departure of British & Irish Lion Jonny Hill, who is swapping Devon for Manchester and the Sale Sharks at the end of the season.

Leinster are also set to lose players on their western flank, with reports in Ireland suggesting Peter Dooley and Adam Byrne are set to sign on the dotted line in Galway. Bernard Jackman linked the prop and the winger with a move to Andy Friend’s URC side in conversation with The42.ie.

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Leinster utility forward Josh Murphy is already confirmed to be joining but Thornley writes that a fourth player is on the way: highly-rated former Ireland U20s star David Hawkshaw.

The 5’9, 86kg 10/12 has made eight appearances for Leinster, scoring 14 points.

RugbyPass understands that Exeter have also had a look at uncapped Leinster academy product Charlie Ryan. The 6’8, 115kg 22-year-old is coming off an academy contract at Leinster at the end of the season.

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