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'It's hard to put into words...': Jonny Hill quits Exeter for Sale

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

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Exeter have lost a second Test level lock this Monday, England second row Jonny Hill revealing that he has signed for Sale for the 2022/23 season just hours after it was confirmed that Scotland lock Sam Skinner, Hill’s engine room club colleague at Sandy Park, would leave next summer for Edinburgh. The transfer of the 27-year-old Hill was described as a long-term deal without Sale specifying the length of the contract agreed that will take the 2021 Lions tourist north to Manchester from Devon.

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Sale CEO Sid Sutton said on his club’s website: “We are really pleased to be bringing in a player of Jonny’s class to help push the club forwards and achieve great things. We are a club with aspirations and to sign someone of Jonny’s class demonstrates that. 

I had a really good chat with him and discussed the culture, our values and the journey the club are on and his personality fits perfectly. I spoke to Tom Curry about the potential of signing Jonny and he was full of praise for not only his ability on the pitch but what a good bloke he is off it.”

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Hill, who debuted for Exeter in January 2016 having made his breakthrough at Hartpury College and Gloucester, said on the Chiefs website: “It’s hard to put into words how I feel right now. The journey that I have been on with the Chiefs has been unbelievable. 

“The player that arrived all those years ago to the player that will leave at the end of the season are two completely different things. Since the moment I arrived, everyone at the club, the supporters, the city itself, they have all made me feel so welcome. To decide to move on has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but sometimes good things have to come to an end.

“I am extremely thankful to Tony Rowe, Rob Baxter and everyone associated with the club for making my time here so enjoyable. The memories we have made, winning the double, playing in big European and Premiership games, it’s hard to sum up what all that means to me. I’m grateful that my future has now been sorted but between now and the time I leave, I know I will be fighting to the end and giving everything I can to the club.”

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Sale boss Alex Sanderson, who last month announced the signing of out-half George Ford for next season, said: “I’m really excited to be bringing Jonny to Sale. He is a player who knows how to win and what it takes to grind out those big games and that sort of experience is invaluable. 

“His on-field qualities speak for themselves but what sets him apart for me is that he is a genuinely good bloke and will no doubt add to the environment and culture that we have here. Having spoken to Jonny on a couple of occasions, I was really impressed with his appetite to improve and it is exciting that he wants to do that at Sale. 

“It tells me that we have a player of international class who believes in the club’s ambition, the culture that we are building and wants to be a part of it, for me that’s mega. We are thrilled to be bringing Jonny on board for next season and can’t wait to welcome him to Manchester.”

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