Nic White’s dreams of representing Australia at the 2019 World Cup have been given the thumbs up by Rob Baxter, the Exeter coach who admitted he had no hesitation in coming to a contractual agreement that clears the way for the scrum-half to be available for the finals.
The Chiefs have agreed that the Australian can leave the Gallagher Premiership club at the end of the 2019/20 season, a situation that has allowed White to organise a deal with a Super Rugby franchise and make himself eligible to be picked by Wallaby boss Michael Cheika.
The 28-year-old, who began his career at the Brumbies before moving to French side Montpellier, joined Exeter in 2017 and has scored 10 tries in 44 appearances for the club ahead of this weekend’s clash with defending league champions Saracens at Sandy Park.
“Nic’s got our full blessing,” said Baxter to BBC Sport. “He’s fully contracted with us now for this season and the season coming, but by signing for an Australian franchise, that allows Australia to pick him now which makes him available for the World Cup.
“Nic’s always wanted to play in a World Cup, it’s been a big ambition of his. As much as we’d like Nic to stay here long term, he’s a very good player for us and done very well, there is a reality that we also think it’s part of what we’re about that if we can help someone reignite their career and do well that we don’t want to stand in their way.”
"Nic's got our full blessing."
Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter says Nic White is free to agree terms with an Australian club to make himself eligible for the World Cup.
— BBC Rugby Union (@bbcrugbyunion) May 1, 2019
“You’d like to keep all your top players and keep adding to it, but that isn’t the reality,” said Baxter.
“We’ll keep our eye on the market, interesting players will become available, but first and foremost we’ll look at the form of the young nines we’ve got here and see if we start to anticipate a year’s time is the right time for them all to step up and fight for the one, two and three spots just on their own.”
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.