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'He came across very well': Exeter sign Welsh hooker Harris

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Rob Baxter has confirmed his fourth Exeter signing for the upcoming 2022/23 season, adding the name of Welsh hooker Iestyn Harris from Cardiff to a list that already includes Leinster duo Jack Dunne and Rory O’Loughlin, as well as South African Aidon Davis from the Cheetahs.

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A product of the Cardiff academy set-up, the 23-year-old forward made his first-team debut last season as a sub in the Guinness PRO14 away to Leinster and he has since gone on to start this season’s home European encounter versus Toulouse.

Harris is currently out of action due to a shoulder injury, but the rehabilitation has allowed him to line up his switch to Exeter which has already commenced as Cardiff coach Dai Young has allowed the front-rower go to Devon to complete his rehab and integrate himself into the Chiefs set-up for next season. 

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Exeter boss Baxter told the club website: “We were looking to add a hooker to the senior squad for next season and Iestyn’s name was one of those we looked at. His agent sent me a few games of him playing, I had a good look at those, and I liked what I saw.

“After that, he came down to the club, we did his medical, we had a chat, and he came across very well. Talking with Iestyn, he just looks like of those guys who has an ambition, a dream, a drive, just to be the best player he can be. He’s played this season in the Champions Cup and he ticks a lot of the boxes I like to see in a young player.

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“I’m grateful to Dai Young and Cardiff for releasing him early so that he can come down here and finish off the final bits of his rehab on his shoulder injury, as well as get integrated into what we do here at the club. With Luke Cowan-Dickie still sidelined and with Iestyn himself getting close to returning, there could be an opportunity for him to break into the first team before the end of the season.”

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Harris added: “I am really excited about the move. Obviously, I was supposed to start here next season, but thanks to the club and Cardiff, I’m here now and I am really enjoying myself. Exeter is a fantastic club, full of quality players, and who are always challenging for honours and developing players. It’s a huge opportunity for me and I’m really looking forward to the future.

“I also want to thank everyone at Cardiff for all the time and effort they have put into me over the years. Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I will always be grateful to them for giving me that chance.”

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