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'Extremely hard decision': Sam Skinner quits Exeter for Edinburgh

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Getty Images)

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Edinburgh have confirmed the signing of Scotland lock Sam Skinner from Exeter for next season as the salary cap cuts begin to bite in England. The Chiefs had just seen their Champions Cup hopes dented at Glasgow on Saturday and now comes another Scottish setback, the news that one of their current internationals is to make Edinburgh his home in the near future.     

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The soon-to-be 27-year-old Exeter forward Skinner explained in an Edinburgh statement: “I am massively excited to make the move north next season. The URC is an extremely competitive league and I’m really looking forward to testing myself in a new environment with a great group of lads.

“I want to challenge myself and grow as a player and Edinburgh is the perfect place to do that. I can’t wait to get stuck in and help the club to success while really experiencing Edinburgh and Scotland.

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“I’m really looking forward to working with Mike (Blair). I obviously worked with him for a period of time at Scotland and I like how he communicates and connects with players while motivating them at the same time. He has Edinburgh playing an exciting brand of rugby and I believe it will suit my own playing style too.

“Having spoken to a lot of the boys at Scotland, there seems to be a really strong culture at the club while it is an exciting time with the new stadium which I have heard has been fantastic so far with a brilliant atmosphere. I can’t wait to get started next season. It’s such an exciting time for Edinburgh.”

The Exeter-born Skinner, who made his Test debut in 2018 and now has 15 caps, told the Chiefs website: “It has been an extremely hard decision to make. I have grown up supporting Exeter and lived here all my life. What the Chiefs have given me in terms of my career is something I could never have dreamed of. To have experienced what I have, I will forever be grateful. 

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“As I said, it’s not been an easy decision but I have come to a point in my career where I need to challenge myself in a different area and this feels like the right time to move on. I’ll be honest, I never thought this day would come. Exeter and the Chiefs have been my life for such a long time. 

“To be part of what the club has achieved over the years has been amazing and the stuff of dreams. Equally, the connection and bond I have made with players, staff and supporters, I can’t put into words what that means to me. I’m sure I will miss playing at Sandy Park because the crowd here is just immense. Now, I have got seven months to give everything I have to the club.

“I want to enjoy every day and the best way to do that is by working as hard as I possibly can. The obvious goal is to win trophies and if we can do that, then it will be a dream come true to finish on a high… For me, this chapter is closing and another is set to begin, but I am sure I will look back on this time with so much fondness.”

Thrilled Edinburgh boss Blair added: “We are absolutely delighted to secure the signature of a player of Sam’s quality and reputation. His signing really adds to what we are building at the club and I’ve got no doubt supporters will enjoy watching him pull on the Edinburgh jersey. He is a proven winner who still has plenty of years ahead of him to develop and grow as a player.”

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