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Jonny Gray becomes the latest Scot to take up Top 14 deal

By Ian Cameron
Jonny Gray of Exeter Chiefs applauds as they leave the pitch as players of DHL Stormers form a tunnel after the Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Finals match between Exeter Chiefs and DHL Stormers at Sandy Park on April 08, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Scottish international Jonny Gray is set to leave Exeter Chiefs for a new challenge in France, having reportedly agreed to join Top 14 side Bordeaux-Bègles Union.


This significant move comes as UBB looks to bolster their ranks ahead of the potential departures of former Wallaby Kane Douglas and Jandre Marais.

Gray, a senior figure in the Scottish squad with 77 caps, has been a pivotal player for Exeter Chiefs since joining from Glasgow Warriors in 2020. The second row missed out on Scotland’s Rugby World Cup after he sustained a knee cap injury during Exeter’s Champions Cup semi-final defeat by La Rochelle at the end of last season, but is expected to be back in time for the Guinness Six Nations.

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Stormers flank Deon Fourie on the Stormers’ new leadership group

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Stormers flank Deon Fourie on the Stormers’ new leadership group

The news of the move to Bordeaux, first flagged by Midi Olympique and now confirmed by L’Equipe, marks a continued trend this season of UK-based players being lured to France on lucrative deals that Gallagher Premiership sides are struggling to compete with. Gray’s transition to the French club comes following the departures of both Ben White and Blair Kinghorn to France, with Toulona and Toulouse respectively.

The 29-year-old’s departure from Exeter, where he has been a senior figure in recent years, will be keenly felt in Devon. Rob Baxter’s side, who are very much in a rebuilding phase, lost a slew of players to France at the end of last season.

In stark contrast, Bordeaux’s recruitment drive has been impressive. They’ve recently welcomed young prop Matis Perchaud from Bayonne and  27-year-old Australian flanker Lachlan Swinton, who is currently with the Waratahs. Gray’s addition to this line-up underscores the Aquitaine-based club’s ambition to compete at the highest level in the Top 14.

Gray came through the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy for Glasgow and was part of the squad which won the then Guinness PRO12 trophy in 2015.


While at Scotstoun, the 6’5, 122kg lock made his debut for Scotland against South Africa in 2013.



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